Today’s focus verses are from the section of Jesus’ teaching sometimes called the “judgement discourse.” Jesus is in Jerusalem shortly before his crucifixion, and has gone with the disciples to the Mount of Olives. There Jesus responds to their questions about the “end of the age” with the parable of the ten bridesmaids – some who have tended their lamps so they are ready to shine when lit and some whose lamps are empty and unprepared. Through the metaphor of “tending the light” all generations can hear the call to tend and nurture the presence of God’s Spirit within so they might shine in acts of love, justice, compassion, and mercy. What are some ways that we can tend the light of the Spirit as we prepare for life in God’s reign? What Christian practices nourish and sustain your faith and hope and help you to be fully and
awake – as an individual and as a church?
“The continuing life of faith communities is never a given. It is a responsibility, a trust. The church does not exist because it is the church. The church exists to be the church, to do the work of God’s called-out-people. Wisdom in the church, as in our lives, takes shape in preparing for dynamic partnership with God.”
~ John Indermark from Parables and Passion
“Scholars point out that Matthew was dealing with a frightened community, which had been waiting for the return of Jesus for decades, in the midst of an oppressive Roman occupation. So Matthew’s interpretations of Jesus’ parables tilt toward the needs of that early community. And part of that need was for alertness and readiness –
displayed in doing good deeds, and by actively serving those in need… Jesus taught inclusion, not exclusion; love, not punishment; and forgiveness, not holy revenge… In this parable the offer to come and join Jesus’ way is given. We can reject the offer, and there are consequences for doing so, but they are not punishments; they are self-chosen consequences of our choices. The five young women who have prepared for the way of goodness – by doing active deeds of goodness – get to celebrate and let their light shine.
~ from “The Parables in the Gospel of Matthew,” The Art of Parables: Reinterpreting the Teaching Stories of Jesus in Word & Sculpture by Charles McCollough