“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matthew 25:1-13
I was a girl scout as were all of my sisters. My mother was a scout as a child and was a leader for many years as an adult. My girls all participated in scouting. We learned to make things with our hands, love God and country, cooperate with others, care for the earth and be prepared for emergencies. I think being a girl scout made me a little hyper-vigilant which is sometimes annoying to others but a good neurosis when we had small children. I always pack with every possible emergency in mind - from illness to survival items. Some folks laugh at me, but I am the first one they come to when they need supplies or back-up items. Being prepared was instilled in me so early that I cannot relax until I have all that is necessary for any journey.
Jesus continues to tell the disciples about the end times. They want definitive answers and he tells them parables and stories. He tells them they must watch, wait and be prepared. He tells them that they will face all sorts of hardships, abuse and violence. He reminds them to hang on. To watch, wait and be prepared. Jesus invites us all to be faithful people, who are not distracted or dismayed by challenging times, or seduced by comfort and plenty. We cannot know what lies ahead, but we can do our best and trust God with our whole hearts.
Today, as we begin packing for another adventure, I ask God to help me be prepared and trusting at the same time. May we all be diligent in our prayers and our preparation. May God find us ready for all that we face. May we have open hearts and listening ears to know of God movement in our lives and in our communities. May we rejoice in the love we have today and the promise of God's faithfulness and love, no matter what we face tomorrow.