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Awaiting the Bridegroom

44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. Matthew 24:44, NRSV

brideready

Hustle, bustle, and brides all around.

The ministry where I work is hosting two events this weekend. On Saturday there’s a bridal show. There are all kinds of vendors hawking their services to starry-eyed brides. The highlight will be a fashion show and give-aways. The setup process has taken most of the week. It runs from 3:00 to 7:00. And when it’s done exhausted workers will tear everything down and return the building to its original state.

This event is a huge reminder that weddings are a lot of work.

The other event begins today and goes through Sunday, and may even spill over to Monday. On the top floor denominational leaders will be meeting with prospective individuals and couples applying to serve as missionaries. These candidates have completed training, schooling, internships, and service in the process of preparation. Being ready to serve is not a walk in the park. There is typically a time of proving and testing of one’s call.

Sitting here surrounded by wedding dresses hanging on mannequins and thinking about the bridegroom text, I couldn’t help but sing the “old” Larry Norman song, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.”

And then I pictured all those hope-filled candidates anxiously awaiting the church’s stamp of approval upon there call. They’re ready! And willing.

In the story of the bridesmaids (Matthew 24) all ten thought they were ready, but only five had done the work. As they waited, they all fell asleep. The sleeping wasn’t the problem, no more than it was a problem for the disciples who went to the garden with Jesus to pray.

Here’s the key, as I see it in the story: we don’t know when the bridegroom will come. We can’t be lazy, or forgetful, or complacent. Readiness takes constancy and effort. The question that used to be asked was, “Are you paid up and prayed up?”

Are you?

PRAYER: Lord, you love us, and your desire is that we would be ready and anticipating your return. Show us where our faith has become lazy–and help us get back on track. We want to be ready….whenever you come.

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