This parable always baffled me.
I think it was in trying to make sense of it as I considered some other parables. What do you mean the door is closed? Since when is the door closed. The lost coin? The prodigal son? The workers who show up at the end of the day? The door to the Kingdom was not shut for them, but you better not be a foolish virgin who didn't buy enough oil. Your outside. You are chastised.
Like I said it baffled me.
A recent sermon at my church pointed out that this was an end of time parable. Now the scientist in me wants to challenge God right here and now to end time. Seems like quite a feat. But even my foolish self thinks that challenging God to stop time could backfire, so for now if time stops, it is not because I put some money against God.
So I start thinking, if time ends and we are... not aware, or in the dark, or separated from the love of God, or lost in our own internal wilderness, or heading back for some oil so that we can find our way to God... The door swings shut.
We can knock but there is no getting in? It makes more sense, but I am baffled.
So let me go to my favorite metaphor... God's creation unfolds with time.
Tonight in my spirit group a friend spoke of meeting a person, who she is so happy to be making friends with. It unfolds. My friend was awake and got the prize, a new friend. What if I had not seen Mosaic Woman? Time would have kept moving. But I would have missed an amazing unfolding of God's creation.
If time stops. If creation stops unfolding. Two days ago I told my students to imagine a world without color, just shades of gray. I counted to 20 as they pondered this life without color. Then I said imagine your favorite food... gray. That was scary. This happens to people. As creation unfolds their color vision goes away.
I am still baffled.
For now, I will be glad to wake to an unfolding creation, and hope I have some oil for the journey.
UPDATE: THE NEXT MORNING.... time moves on and as I searched through photos to add to flickr I found this one from our trip to Rochester in June ...