Friday, November 21, 2008

Matthew 25: 1-13

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 ...

can you imagine time ending?


  1. I just left my living room, Wayne, where I was pondering (once again) the words of Christ unto His disciples having just spoken on the sower and the seeds. To them it was given to understand the parables, but to the multitudes it was not "lest at any time they should be converted and their sins be forgiven them". Looks to me like the object of one's preaching ought to be focused on obtaining that latter condition? The only answer at which I can ever arrive is that man's will plays a vital part in salvation. Our mind, our God-given ability to ponder to search out and decide, must be not only utilized, but turned over to Him in the process. Like "seed", faith doesn't immediately spring forth, but first "germinates" and then pokes through the surface, battling all the conditions that come to your beloved plants; and, in the "end", I believe we all will stand before the master Gardener and His judgment will be righteous unto each and all....

  2. Jim-- I have been sitting with this parable off and on this past week.

    I agree with the use of the word "we". I hope it to be true.

  3. I've been sitting with 25th Matthew, too - though later in the chapter. And coming to the conclusion we're always standing before God -- we're just asleep, or looking away or...

    So I end up writing about Christ the King huddled against buildings in Philadelphia, and my own unwillingness to look at him there...

  4. Michelle-- we got to that part of Chapter 25 today...

    You are seeing the homeless. Something is stirring. Not all will react in the same way. The key is to respond to those in need.


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