Meditation: When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Go Shopping
…while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, And those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Matthew 25:10
According to a recent Associated Press poll 25 % of those questioned believe that Jesus (the bridegroom) will return in 2007. Pat Robertson has issued dire warnings for the latter part of this year. Scientists warn us of cataclysmic earth changes and weapons developers are creating the most devastatingly violent weapons known to humanity.
The scriptures admonish us to watch for the signs of great earth changes, selfishness, wars, oppression, suffering and great unrest and false prophets. This things are the natural consequences of unloving human behaviors. “People will be lovers of themselves rather than lovers of God.” It is said that the “last days” will be as in the days of Noah when people were “buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage.” They will be going about their daily lives and trying to acquire that which will make them more secure and more happy. As followers of the teaching of Jesus what is our response to all of these things?
The story in Matthew 25 tells us about 10 virgins waiting for a groom. Five were wise and five were foolish. Half of the virgins were committed to waiting a reasonable amount of time and invest a reasonable amount of their resources in preparation for the wedding. The other five were committed to the wedding no matter how long it took and how much of their oil reserves were needed. They were prepared to shine their light through an extended dark night and be ready at any time. We are told that the foolish virgins missed the groom because they were busy shopping for more oil. The going got tough so they went shopping.
As darkness and crisis occurs in our culture and our world we are advised by the president and the media machine to keep shopping. Buildings crash to the ground and we are admonished to just keep shopping, War plans are failing, people are dieing, many are suffering and we are counseled to just keep shopping. In essence, we are told to forget about it all and distract ourselves from the suffering of others by running after more stuff.
Some preach that very soon the bridegroom (a physical Jesus) will emerge from the clouds to rescue his bride (the church). When Jesus came as a baby many refused to hear the wisdom of his life story because they were looking for their human idea of a savior. God’s ways are not our ways so human ideas of the end time events are no doubt ill-conceived as well. Scriptures explain that The kingdom of Heaven is both “at hand” and “is to come.” The kingdom of the bridegroom is eternal- past present and future.
Some of us are overwhelmed by world events and the extreme suffering we see. We leave the wedding party and go shopping for more because we fear the darkness and our lights are growing dim. Some of us are like the wise virgins and are vigilant in lighting the walkway in the middle of the night. We are walking confidently on the narrow path. Will the “groom” find us advocating for the innocent people of Darfur, standing with the suffering in Israel/Palestine, feeding the hungry, comforting those who mourn, looking after orphans and widows, preaching Jesus’ message of love in the face of fear and sharing with those in need in our own communities?
We are to live in love rather than fear. We do not need to view life as a long stretch of delayed gratification. Our life is not a long horrible trial to be endured. We do not “follow him “ or “believe in him” in hope of one day escaping and being rewarded because we did not break the 10 commandments. Instead, we count it a joy to live the life which stretches before us. We carry with us that extra oil and light the path as we practice living the lifestyle of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. Those who “are called according to his purpose” will be found by the lover with our lamps held high and shining brightly along love’s path.
Prayer: We actively wait for a more clear revelation of you , the lover of our soul. Your grace will find us shining through the darkest night. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We will come to meet you in joy through the darkness of our times for it was for such a time as this that we were born. Amen
Action: Evaluate your commitment to the principles of the Kingdom. Consider how you can use your resources to bring light to the world and ease the suffering of others. Among many other things consider shining the light in Washington DC on March 16th.