Summary: Jesus is the returning bridegroom who will arrive triumphantly at the end of the age. Beloved , blessed are those whose lamps are faithfully kept burning as they watch and wait for his appearance. Be Ready for "The Cry at Midnight." (Redone Nov 2017)
For those not familiar with an Anglican Service; there are four Scripture Readings before the Sermon. The Scripture Readings for this day were: Joshua:24:1-25; Psalm 78:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 25:1-13.
A film crew was on location deep in the desert. One day an old Indian went up to the director and said, Tomorrow rain...... The next day it rained.
A week later, the Indian went up to the director and said, Tomorrow storm The next day there was a hailstorm.
This Indian is incredible,said the director.
He told his secretary to hire the Indian to predict the weather for the remainder of the shoot.
However, after several successful predictions, the old Indian did not show up for two weeks.
Finally the director sent for him. I have to shoot a big scene tomorrow, said the director, and I am depending on you. What will the weather be like?
The Indian shrugged his shoulders. Do not know, he said........My radio is broken
Appearances are deceiving.
The foolish virgins in the Gospel reading .....looked, dressed and marched like bridesmaids.
They were pretty, radiant and even charming on the outside, but dreary, dim and dull on the inside.
The word foolish is none other than the Greek word (moros) which is the root word for the politically incorrect English word ....moron.
Now, The scene of this parable of the 10 Bridesmaids focuses on preparations for a wedding banquet that is to take place in the home of the groom.
A great crowd of family and friends fills the grooms home ....... and they pour out into the street in front of the dwelling.
As the crowd is gathering, the groom and several close friends are making their way to the home of the bride, which is assumed to be across town or in a nearby village.
From there the groom collects his bride and escorts her back to his family home, where the crowd awaits and the marriage feast will be held.
When bride was ready, she would be placed on the back of a riding animal, and the groom, with his friends, would form a disorganized, exuberant parade.
This happy group would take the longest possible route back to the grooms home.
Deliberately, wandering through as many streets of the village as possible so that most of the people could see and cheer them as they pass.
At the grooms home some of the crowd would wait in the street as they anticipate the arrival of the meandering wedding party. (Pause)
The parable takes place at night, and among the guests are 10 young women.
Each of them has a lamp, and of course all 10 lamps are lit.
For young unmarried women, in the Middle East, to move around in the dark without carrying lamps is unthinkable!
(Slow) What might they be doing in the dark and with whom?
The 10 young women are very judicious in their behavior. All have lamps ...... and each of the lamps is burning.
But there are differences among them.
Half of them have brought extra oil with them in a small flask, while the other half had not taken this precaution.
The parade, ......winding slowly through the village, takes a bit longer than these 10 young women, in their youthful enthusiasm, anticipate.
(Slow) Such things usually do.
The Young woman become drowsy, carefully placed their burning lamps on a window ledge or some other appropriate sheltered place and doze off inside or outside the house. (Pause)
Finally the front of the parade enters the alley and the cry goes out, "Behold the bridegroom. Come out to meet him."
Guests and the family still in the house rush into the street.
The 10 young women arise quickly, recognize that some time has passed and begin to "service their lamps."
The loose unattached wicks must be adjusted, and the oil reserves inside the lamps replenished.
To their horror, five of the women suddenly realize their lamps are almost out of olive oil and they have no reserves.
The other five take out their little clay flasks and calmly replenish their lamps.
The Five foolish women crowd around them demanding oil.
Politely and no doubt firmly they are in effect told, "We do not have enough for you and ourselves-go to the dealers and buy more!"
No doubt irritated and sputtering, the five stomp off to beg, borrow or buy a bit of oil.
Everyone knows everyone in such villages, so acquiring a little oil from someone is not a problem-even in the middle of the night
In the meantime, the groom and his new bride arrive and the entire crowd sweeps into the house (P) and the door is shut.
After all, it is the middle of the night.
In the final scene the shortsighted crowd of five women finally acquire some oil, get their lamps working again and arrive back at the house.