From the Pulpit: Jo Nygard Owens’ First Sermon
Our new Pastor for Digital Ministry got a doozy of a Gospel passage for her first time in the Canterbury Pulpit.
It’s the parable of the bridesmaids, half of whom were ready for the big day, and half of whom weren’t. From Matthew 25:
‘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. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
The Rev. Jo Nygard Owens said the point of the story isn’t that some are in, and others are out, but that we all need to be prepared for the moments when we will encounter God — and be ready to respond:
“What if the wise bridesmaids receive their designation for another reason? Not because they bring the extra oil, but because they know their whole purpose is to wait for the groom. They are attuned to Jesus and follow him. Yes, their lamps are lit with plenty of oil to spare, but it is their ability to recognize Jesus and to remain with him. That sets them apart.”