Call to Worship
God has gathered us to read his word.
Even though we are far apart, we are brought together in his good news story.
We hear those stories which show us what the kingdom of God is like.
Stories which tell us how we can learn to serve our God without reservation, or hesitation.
Jesus will send us out into our communities, to tell others of his hopes and dreams, so they, too, can choose to follow God. Following his light in a sometimes dark world. Amen.
Lord, you do not want us to be ignorant of your dreams and hopes for us.
So you speak to us in parables, so we might pay careful attention to your words.
You tell us stories about our grandparents in the faith, so we might become mentors to our grandchildren, and theirs.
Filling us with the holy oil of generosity and grace, you make us ready to welcome Jesus Christ into our lives, and to open our hearts to those who are in need.
Today, we choose to serve you. God in Community, Holy in One, even as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
Our Father. . .
Please read Matthew 25:1-13 “Fill Your Lamps, Light the Path”
Given the massive changes we are experiencing in society and in church; should we be prudent or wasteful with our resources? Do we go ‘All in’ and risk the lot? Or do we hold back and hope for the good times to return?
A nervous bride, an anxious father, 10 bridesmaids. Friends and family from all over gather to celebrate this special moment.
In Jesus’ time one of the bridesmaids’ main tasks was to light the wedding’s night-time procession from the bride’s father’s house to what will become her new home. The whole community would dance and sing through the streets. The bridesmaids danced a sacred dance moving rhythmically about the crowd lifting their lamps – working the people into a frenzy, dancing, laughing, and singing into the night.
There’s rich symbolism in this passage: the bridesmaids (two types: the prudent ones and wasteful ones), the bride (anxious) and groom (late), the wedding party, the wedding feast… but especially the oil.
In scripture, oil often portrays the spiritual substance and strength that comes from God that nourishes and prepares us.
Some of the bridesmaids ran out of oil! They had prudently brought just enough oil for what was planned. They were being savvy, efficient, cost-effective. The bear minimum.
It wasn’t their fault! The groom was late! Grooms are never late! They wouldn’t dare!
But all their prudence didn’t matter when the clock hit midnight, the groom popped up and the party began. It was the wasteful ones who had brought extra jugs of oil that led the people down the path and to the feast. Any oil not used by the end of the night would be thrown away! What a waste!
Jesus is telling us that when we are invited to the feast, maybe it takes wasteful people to help get us there. Wasteful: the way God’s love for us is wasteful. People whose lives act as lamps filled with those things that draw from the substance and strength of God that nourish and prepare us.
Because when all the prudent people’s lamps burn out – we’re going to need all the holy foolishness and wastefulness we can get to light the path and get us to the feast.
A closing prayer
Father God, teach us that worldly wealth is not treasure, ceasefire is not peace and benevolence is not justice.
Jesus, call us with conviction to follow you into the upside-down Kingdom where wastefulness is generosity and prudence is reluctance.
And Spirit, give us your discernment, inspiration, courage and power to seek first the Kingdom of God and His justice.
Knowing that when we do, everything we need will be added to us.
Give Me Oil In My Lamp www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfb8J96vu80
Awake My Soul and with the Sun www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPzhHmUVjM4
Fill thou my life, O Lord my God www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8d0bMPl2hY
Lord Of The Dance www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDdQhsjNHcw