NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2014
This Sunday is the next to the last Sunday of the Christian Church’s Calendar year. The assigned lectionary gospel text for this Sunday is about five women prepared and five women unprepared for a big upcoming event. Newer biblical translations call these women “Bridesmaids.” Older biblical translations call them “Virgins.” Regardless of what you call them, this story is a parable by Jesus telling us to “Be Prepared.” Most people will interpret this passage to be addressing the “end times”, that time just before the Second Coming of Christ. And it is. The parable ends in Matthew 25:13 with these words, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Unfortunately, many preachers have interpreted this passage in such an extreme and exclusive way that it has led many well intentioned Christians to live other-worldly in their pursuit in life. For them, it’s all about being prepared for the afterlife. Not nearly enough time is spent on being prepared to live this life to the fullest. Thus, so many Christians are “so heavenly minded that they do no earthly good.” While I agree that this passage is parable by Jesus about the “end times”, I think Jesus’ message of being prepared is one we need to use in living our daily lives as well.
John Wesley was asked what he would do if he knew his Lord would return at that time the next day. He said in effect, “I would go to bed and go to sleep; wake up in the morning, and go on with my work, for I would want Him to find me doing what he had appointed.” I think that Wesley has it absolutely right! His words offer us keen insight into what this passage really means for our lives here on earth while we anticipate Christ’s return.
God wants us to be prepared to live life every day to the fullest. God wants us to take advantage of every opportunity God allows us to have to enrich our lives, help others and bring glory to God right here on earth while we anticipate and wait for Christ’s return. We are to see the presence of Christ in our lives daily and in every good opportunity. William Barclay said in “You Can Say That Again,” “The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is never to forget the presence of Christ.”
I did a quick revisit of the lectionary assigned scriptures for the Sundays since Pentecost Sunday. If I had to summarize them in light of this parable this week, it would be this: “The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, reminds us of Christ presence with us each day. It prepares us to live life to the fullest on earth, while we anticipate Christ’s return where we will live forever with the Lord. Both calls us to “BE PREPARED” to live each day with anticipation. So ‘Be Prepared.’”
Part of our preparation is joining with others in worship and for fellowship. So I invite you to join us for worship this Sunday at Covenant. I will preach a sermon called “Be Prepared” using the scriptural text Matthew 25:1-13.”