"[...] but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps."
“This world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through,” so goes the old southern Gospel hymn. Human existence is often characterized as a journey, even in secular literature. Scripture refers to the Christian life as journeying toward God's heavenly kingdom. For now, we are mired in this temporal world, and as transient as our earthly sojourn may be, believers are called to live as God's Kingdom people now. The contrast between the Wise and Foolish maidens who go out to meet the Bridegroom is a case in point. In this single statement found in Matthew 25:4, we encounter individuals who know what is required of them. The Wise Maidens were prepared. They left nothing to chance. They not only filled their lamps with oil, but were prepared to buy more if necessary.
Oil has long been seen as a metaphor for the presence of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we are indeed marked with the sign of God's Spirit in Baptism. But what of daily living? Can we prepare, be ready, be looking ahead each day, allowing God's Spirit to awaken us, to be our inner power source? The spiritual disciplines of prayer, self-examination, confession, and goal setting can be powerful aids. We can view each new day as another occasion of learning and serving, allowing God's Spirit to shine into our workplace, homes, schools, and among friends and family.
Perhaps each of us can spend time daily considering how we can be “filled with the Spirit,” as we honor our Lord, preparing to meet him as the Resurrected One.
Art: Dea Jenkins | "Erasure: Yellow" | art | 2018