Give Me Oil in My Lamp

 

Theme: Be prepared for Christ's return. Proper 27 (32) Year A
Object: A flashlight and some extra batteries
Scripture: "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." Matthew 25:13 (NIV)

We always keep a flashlight in our house. We keep the flashlight so that if the lights go out, we will be able to find our way around in the dark. The flashlight is always kept in the same place so that we will know where to find it when we need it. Do you know what else we have to do? We have to check the batteries regularly to make sure they are still working and we have to make sure there are always extra batteries on hand. When the lights go out, this flashlight will be no help if the batteries are dead and there aren't any fresh batteries to replace them.

In the time that Jesus lived, people didn't have flashlights or batteries. Instead, they used oil lamps, and just as it is important for us to have a good supply of batteries for our flashlight, it was important for the people of Jesus' day to have a good supply of oil on hand for their lamps.

One day, Jesus told a story using oil lamps to teach his disciples how important it was for them to be prepared for the day when he would return. In Jesus' story, a wedding was about to take place. The bride had ten bridesmaids and they were waiting for the bridegroom to come and take them to his house where the wedding would take place. Weddings in those days were almost always at night and the bridesmaids would light their lamps and lead the bride to the house of the bridegroom. Jesus said that while they were waiting for the bridegroom, the bridesmaids became tired and fell asleep.

Suddenly, everyone was awakened by someone shouting. "Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!" The bridesmaids jumped up and began to prepare their lamps. Five of the bridesmaids had not brought any extra oil, so they didn't have enough oil to light their lamps. The other five had very wisely brought extra oil, so they were well-prepared and lit their lamps. The foolish ones asked to borrow some oil, but the wise ones were afraid there was not enough for them, so they told them to go buy some more oil. While they were gone, the bridegroom came and the five who were ready went with him to the wedding feast. When the foolish ones bought more oil and went to the groom's house, it was too late. The door had already been closed locked. Jesus told his followers, "So you must be ready, because you don't know when I will return."

In this story, the bridegroom is Jesus and you and I are the bridesmaids. Do you think we are the wise ones or the foolish ones? Well, Jesus told us that he was going to come again, and that if we were wise, we would be ready for his return. What can we do to make sure we are ready? We can read his Word, do what it says, and put our trust in him. If we will do that, we will be ready. We will have oil in our lamp and our light will be shining brightly to show others the way to him.

Heavenly Father, we want to be ready when Jesus comes again. Help us to trust in him and follow his teachings. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.