I rarely think about that second coming of Jesus because I feel the responsibility to live with him each day. Yet he did talk about the days ahead, and I suspect there are lessons for each of us today. In the parable of the ten virgins Jesus gives us the assurance of his return and speaks to our lives right now. Perhaps we could meditate on his coming and still find daily guidance? Here are five seeds of meditation:
We wait together for his return. The virgins waited together; they were not alone. There is a community of faith: his coming will certainly involve personal accountability as Jesus returns to judge each of us, but until he arrives we are called to remain in community.
We carry the light. We are the evidence that a new day is coming. For some people trapped in the darkness of depression or disobedience, we may be the only light they see. The light we carry is not our own, it comes from the Spirit he has given us.
He provides his Holy Spirit to comfort and empower his disciples. Throughout the Scripture oil is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit. Still, we have a responsibility to trim our lamps--no one can do it for us. We alone must be sure that we steward the precious resource of his presence in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Things may take a little longer than we might expect. The bridegroom was a long time coming. He was delayed so long that both the wise and the foolish fell asleep, but we are still commanded to be ready for his return at any moment. The good news is we can be faithful even if we get the timetable wrong.
Finally, much has been made of the end of Jesus' parable. When word finally comes that his return is at hand, the foolish virgins must leave to find more oil, and they eventually find themselves on the outside looking in. This verse can be the source of argument and division, or we can take from it one sure lesson: instead of fearing the words, "I don't know you," we can prepare now for the assurance that the door to the feast will be open to us.
What can I do this week to look forward to the feast?