Church of the Incarnation

Community News

Remembrance Day

November 11, 2020

The parable of the bridesmaids serves as a call to examine our lives. Are our priorities aligned with God’s priorities, or are we so distracted with secondary issues that we risk missing the presence of Jesus in our midst?

One of the things I find most interesting about the parable is that I didn’t notice at first that the bridegroom doesn’t admonish the bridesmaids for not having the oil for their lamps. He actually simply says, ‘hey you weren’t here when I arrived, you got distracted and so weren’t ready to go when I came.’ If you hadn’t have run out at the last minute, you’d actually have been able to come with me. But the bridesmaids made the fatal mistake of believing that the oil for their lamps rather than the bridegroom - Jesus - was the priority.

The two common pitfalls Christians through history have fallen into in thinking about Jesus’s return have been either trying to predict a particular date for his return or complacency. Jesus warns throughout the Gospels: “about the Son of Man’s return, no one knows the day or the hour;” and “to ‘keep awake’ to stay alert and stay focused on doing the will of God. To do otherwise is to live a life of distraction where we miss all the ways God is constantly present to us. If we ‘sleep,’ as the Scriptures often put it, if we fail to stay attentive to who God is and where he is at work in the world and our lives, we will miss the time when all things will be gathered to him under judgment.

And this makes sense doesn’t it? If we do not know God, as he has revealed himself in Scripture, how could we recognize him at work in our world or in ours and others lives. It’s awfully easy to mistake God for our own will or for an idol we hold, if we don’t know him. It’s also - and I think this is really key - easy to become distracted by things in the world if we are unsure that we are loved by God. It’s easy to prioritize other things when we don’t trust that we are loved, desired and held. Knowing this though, requires that we spend every day trying to deepen our relationship with God, so that we turn to him in good and bad times and find that He is enough to sustain us. It’s when we come to learn this, that his love given for us affects us in such a way that we aren’t pushed or pulled around by all the very important things that we are doing and are a part of in this world. Because just as it really would help to have oil for our lamps, to work hard at jobs, to care for grand kids, to get the grocery shopping done, to sustain relationships with friends and family; but these things as I said several weeks ago, can become a distraction to the point we lose the centrality of our relationship with God and the ways that he calls us to spend our time, our money, and our energy. So my friends as we go out from here, let us keep awake. Seek the way of Christ so that we will find him in our lives and others’ lives and so that we’ll know how to act and react in faithful response to him.

AMEN.

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