Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday's Meditation: What can I do Now?

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?


  1. I've been struck over the past few months that the investment I make in my relationship with God is what will pay off the most. To that end, I've been led to give up all of my personal time commuting in the car to prayer, worship, and meditation. I think that's a bit like keeping my lamp filled, or at least keeping it half empty...

  2. This is one of the most difficult parts of faith, for me—this idea that I'm supposed to be expectant and longing for Jesus' return. (I feel the same way about this "longing for heaven" Christians are supposed to have.)

    A big part of it is my desire to be in the moment, and, like you, try to "live with him each day." There's so much work to do here and now—so many ways we need to spread Jesus' love and work to bring heaven to earth. But the other part of is just plain old fear of the unknown. It's hard to prepare for and look forward to something that is so hard to even imagine.

  3. Ed: it's definitely keeping your lamp filled. Cultivating a sense of his presence is an investment that "pays off" now, and in the age to come.

    Kristin: I share your ambivalence. Yet the more we do here and now simply points to the fact that there always more to do, whether we are talking about character development or working toward societal goals like justice. I think we should pursue faithfulness here and now, seasoned with a sense that perfection awaits the arrival of the Perfect One. Or, to change metaphors, we are busy with the banquet preparations, but the feasting doesn't really begin until the Guest of Honor arrives.