Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:1-13
‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 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, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.
In the parable of the lamps, Jesus clearly delineates the difference between what is wise and what is foolish. Not being prepared for whatever is coming is foolish. In Oklahoma, most people have a storm plan with a designated place to go for safety and a kit of necessities. My kit includes two sources of lighting one battery operated and one that can be power by cranking it. I, like the bridesmaids who came prepared with more fuel for their lamps, value the ability to see in the dark.
Today we tend to complicate what is wise and what is foolish. Our government at this writing is debating a revision of our tax system with widely divergent opinions on what is wise and what is foolish, most tied to who are financial winners and losers. Some see no problem in massively increasing the national debt. Others identify such a move as a deal breaker. What gets lost in the chaos are the values that drive our efforts.
What can we glean from this parable to help us simplify our decisions regarding what is wise and what is foolish? What drives the Common Good? Do we want all our citizens to earn living wages? How can that best be accomplished? Is affordable, accessible, and available health care a right or a privilege? What is the most productive way to protect our populace from harm whether caused by internal threats or external ones? When we take the time to discuss our values, the answers to our tax situation will become clearer.
The parable of the lamps tells us to be ready to serve the Bridegroom who represents Christ. Such service includes our having a good sense of Christ’s values, so we are prepared to respond when called.
Prayer: Lord, we pray for all our elected leaders as they make decisions that will impact the lives of every citizen and ask that you grant them clarity of insight. Guide each of us as citizens to participate as responsible citizens of our nation. Guide us also in our work as citizens of your Kingdom. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.