In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Next week Advent starts with its countdown to Christmas. That means a new church year starts for us. But we are not there yet. Today, on this last week of the church’s year, we hear a parable told by Our Lord in the last week of His life. And it concerns us! But not us right now. Us in the future. At that time, when Our Lord comes again. It concerns the kingdom of God. It concerns all the baptized ones.
Now each of these attendants of the bride had a lamp. (Matthew 25:1) For Thy Word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105) These ten brides maids are those given light by the Word of God. It was first given in Holy Baptism when God’s own name was placed on them. Therefore, they are attendants of Bride of Christ, the Church. (Ephesians 5:25-27) This parable is about baptized ones.
But what did Our Lord note about these baptized attendants of the Bride? Some brought oil for their lamps and others did not. (Matthew 25:3-4) All nodded off. All slept. The wise and the foolish alike. (Matthew 25:5) i.e., all of them died before the great and glorious coming of our Lord, the Bridegroom, whose coming brings great joy! Moreover , His coming (again) wakes the sleeper. (Matthew 25:6) Even those slumbering in death will be awoken by Him. By the shout of archangel and the trumpet of God. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) Rising. Waking up to new life in Christ Our Lord.
Can you imagine brothers and sisters, falling asleep in Jesus, just as our beloved sister Sarah Turnquist did earlier this week? One moment in your body you are dying, feeling full effects of your birth according to the inheritance of death given you by Adam and Eve. But the next thing your body knows, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:51-53), it is rising from the most refreshing sleep you’ve ever had. Because you’ve been asleep in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14) At peace. Resting securely. And you wake up changed! Imperishable. Immortal. Filled with endless vigor and life. (1 Cornithians 15:42-44) For you are now eternally free from the curse of sin. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57) Alive in His eternal kingdom which He has prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:34) to which He’s been putting the finishing touches ever since He returned to His Father’s right hand. (John 14:2-3) He’s readying you for the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end. (Matthew 25:10; 22:2-4; Revelation 19:7)
For in Christ there is life and exceeding gladness in the glorious sunshine of His eternal love. Apart from Him there is weeping and gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness of eternal death. (Matthew 22:13)
And when we all wake on that Last Day in the resurrection of the dead, do not be like the remaining ones (Matthew 25:8-12) who were left out of the ark when God closed Noah, his family and the animals in (Genesis 7:15-16, 21-22). Do not be like those foolish virgins who thought that the faith of their spouse, children, parents, or grandparents would be enough for them. Do not think only that, “I am baptized. Once you’re dunked your good.” “You know, as long as your hatched matched, and dispatched by the Church your good.”
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON