Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” – Revelation 19:9
For the second time this year, I had the privilege to be part of a friend’s wedding. I was one of the groomsman, and I was honored. Being a groomsman is a tough gig though. While supposedly there was a list of duties I needed to perform, I soon realized my main job was making sure the groom didn’t spontaneously implode from stress. This was crucial because if anything happened to the groom the bride would probably strangle everyone with her own wedding veil. Luckily, my fellow groomsmen and I managed to play our parts with no major errors.
My only slip up happened during the rehearsal dinner, when I excused myself to go look for a bathroom. I was probably gone for only a few minutes, but when I came back I found the groom’s father was in the middle of the dinner toast. I didn’t want to be rude, so I stood outside the room for about fifteen minutes waiting as everyone toasted the bride and groom. All in all, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but as I stood out there and watched the celebration from behind the door, I remembered a parable Jesus had once told his disciples.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13)
Sometimes I think we underestimate the parable of the virgins. We were always told it represented Jesus return, and our duty to be ready, but I think there’s more to it. We are, in a sense, the wedding party for Christ’s marriage to the Church. Like the bridesmaids and groomsmen, it’s our responsibility to help prepare the celebration by following Christ and working to serve him. It also means we’ll have to endure a long night filled with uncertainty, and our faith, like the lamp oil, must constantly be replenished. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but when the groom arrives and the celebration begins, there’s no doubt it will all have been worth it.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Take some time to read Jesus’ parables and reflect on their meanings.