>

Ten Virgins


>

This is a part of Matthew's focus on the "end times ".
It is a subject addressed at length in Revelations
and is one that still fascinates the church.
When will Jesus come again?
When will we receive our just reward?
When will other's get their come-uppance?
It is not a very healthy focus you might think;
very human but not really consistent with divinity.

John the Baptist majored on this, saying: "It is coming! "
Jesus said "it is here ", and spoke about it's ways,
which don't seem consistent with this parable.

Jesus consistently spoke of sharing our bread with others,
yet those provident virgins fail to share with the foolish.
It seems unChristian somehow, even if understandable;
very human but..still hardly divine !

There are lots of good lessons that we can drag from the parable,
but are they reallylessons that fell from the lips of Jesus?
Do they match his focus on inclusiveness and sharing,
on love for your neighbour and forgiveness?

Of course they fit neatly with many concerns of the growing church.
"Come on board now or you'll miss the boat ".
or even
"Jesus chose us, not those who are trying to join us now. "
or "this is God's final offering "
shutting out any subsequent prophets or any new ideas.
All very much like many of our churches today.
All very human, but hardly divine!

We need to remember that the Bible was written and assembled by men.
The New Testament committee rejected much that had been written about Jesus and about Christianity.
It was compiled by people with a set agenda, a set of beliefs that seemed undeniable in their day
but have been undermined by advances in knowledge and evolution of the human psyche.
The First Generation expected Jesus to return, the restoration of Israel
and the world to end in their life-time.
Hadn't Jesus said so?

It was a belief that resonates in the writings of Paul.
It is a hope that emerges whenever and wherever the church faces major persecution.
It is a hope that is very human.

We do not necessarily get our just desserts, nor do the wicked suffer as they should,
nor can we dodge the Cross despite our holy ways of living.
Even Jesus realised that in the end,
"My God why have you forsaken me? " he cried.
Even as we burn at the stake or ache with cancer, God is with us,
and we are called to listen for the voice of God luring us to His purposes.
Not stuck with foolish visions of pride or future glory, (or even of release from present pain)
but seeking and acting out God's purposes here, where we are; despite where we are.
God's ways are not our ways - nor are man's ways and concepts often those of God.