Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Wise and Foolish Virgins

The sisters stood together, looking longingly down the street. They all hoped to be the first to catch a glimpse of Him. Surely today, more than any other, His face would shine and eyes sparkle with joy; His walk would be one of purpose and happy anticipation. He was coming to take His bride.

All His closest and most faithful family and friends would attend the feast held in His honor. Indeed, no expense had been spared, for the food and decorations were exquisite. Everything the eye could see sparkled and shined, and the aromas of the food, fine wines and heady incense were quite breathtaking. Were He not the sole object of adoration for these sisters, they could be quite distracted by the party itself. As it were, all the beauty of the festivities paled in comparison to the radiance of His very person.

The eldest sister stood tall and regal. She was truly beautiful. Her long, flowing hair shined in the sun, and her dark eyes glittered with a love-induced longing mingled with fear. Always the practical one, she knew that although she was excited, nay, desperate, to be with Him, this was also the most terrifying moment of her life. She wanted everything to be perfect, and to the best of her ability she had prepared for this day. Her garments had been washed and rewashed, and were spotless and wholly appropriate for the wedding. She had washed her face, perfumed her body with sweet incense and adorned herself with fine jewels. She was indeed a sight to behold, full of beauty and grace.

For all the pains she had taken to her personal appearance, however, she did not neglect the most important task that had been given her. She had made sure to fill her lamp with oil, all the way to the brim. She had also spent all she had to make sure to have enough oil to last, for she did not know the exact time of His arrival, and needed to be prepared for anything. Surely He would know her deep love for Him was genuine when He saw her ready, with her lamp burning brightly.

She looked beside her to see her other sisters, also decked out in their finest garments and awaiting the King. As she looked upon some of her sweet sisters, her heart filled with joy. She saw the same love for their Master radiating in their eyes. They were a lovely sight to behold. The light from their lamps made a soft glow on their faces, accentuating the gentleness in their features. They patiently waited for the moment to arrive.

As the hours passed, several of the sisters sat down on the steps. “Get up, all of you! What if He comes and sees you sitting?,” the five that sat were urged by the five who remained standing.

“Don’t worry. If we hear Him coming we will stand up. We will be ready in plenty of time.”

“But what of your dresses? You are getting them soiled and wrinkled!”

“It’s not so bad as you make it seem. Besides, will He not love us anyway, just as we are?”

The standing sisters were aghast. “Of course He will love you, but do you not love Him enough to keep yourselves ready?”

The sitting sisters rolled their eyes. After all, the standing sisters had always been a little radical in their devotion. It was true; their intentions could not be doubted. They were consumed with love for their Lord. But they did not have to force their peculiar ways on others, did they? Besides, a little rest would be good.

The sitting sisters eventually reclined. The evening was drawing nigh and they began to feel sleepy. Perhaps a little nap would do them good. There was still no sign of His arrival, and besides, their standing sisters would surely wake them up if they saw Him, for they were still excitedly scanning the horizon for the first glimpse of Him. The heat of the day had made them drowsy, and with a slight yawn, they dozed off.

“Oh how can they sleep at a time like this!!! Surely He will be here at any moment, and He told us to be ready!,” fretted one of the standing sisters, beholding the sleeping sisters on the ground.

“We have warned them,” replied the eldest. “They would not listen to us. Now we must stay focused on keeping ourselves ready. Do you all still have plenty of oil? Let us check our lamps again…”





The sleeping sisters awoke with a start. It was nearly dark. They had been asleep a long time. Eyes blurry from sleep, they rubbed them to bring them into focus. They glanced around and saw their standing sisters, without a spot on their fine clothes, holding their beautiful lamps and still waiting excitedly.

They looked first at each other, then down at themselves. They were a mess! They had gotten their garments soiled and their hair was unkempt. They stood up and tried brushing each other off to the best of their ability. They really wished they had time to go home and wash their clothes. It would not do to have Him see them like this. They went to trim their wicks and relight their lamps, which had gone out while they were sleeping, but, to their horror, their lamps were totally empty. There was no oil!

A bit frantic, they went to their standing sisters. “Can we have some of your oil? We ran out while we were asleep and we need to light our lamps.”

The younger sisters looked to the eldest, not knowing themselves how to reply to such an outrageous request. The eldest, with pity in her voice, yet possessing a firmness that would not be shaken, replied, “We can not give you of our oil. If we do, we will not have enough for ourselves. Please, hurry! Go buy more and hurry back! He should be here any minute.”

The sisters without oil grabbed their lamps and hurried to go buy oil. They were not truly sure He would be back all that soon, but just in case…





Meanwhile, the standing sisters, almost consumed by their great love and devotion, spotted the Groom. They saw Him far away, then coming closer and closer until they were face to face. He was all they had dreamed, and much, much more. He was majestic, radiant, awesome. They were quite overcome.

They were escorted into the great hall, to seats appointed for them. Though they did not for a moment take their eyes off the Groom, they were surprised to find that rather than being there to serve, as they had expected, they were given seats of honor. They watched the Groom as he gave a final order, before taking His seat next to His beloved bride, made up of all those who had faithfully adored Him:

“Shut and lock the doors. No one else will be allowed in.”

Then the festivities went in to full swing. Never had there been such joy. The bride, the Groom, finally reunited. All eternity had waited for this blessed moment, and now it had been fulfilled. There was no memory of the hardships or sadness in the journey, no regret or second thought for anything that had been left behind. From the foundation of the world, this was the thing they had been created for- to love their King forever and ever.





Outside, the tardy sisters realized the wedding feast had started and began to quicken their pace. Oh how embarrassing it was going to be to walk in late, and looking like they did! Perhaps they should have listened to their sisters earlier.

They approached the great door, but it would not open. They pulled with all their might, but to no avail! Desperate, they began to bang on the door and shout. After what felt like an eternity, the sad realization struck them with full force: they had been locked out! They also recognized that no one inside could hear them. None that is, except Him.

“Lord, Lord, open the door for us!!”

The haunting reply would chill their very souls.

“I don’t know you.”

The decision was final. There would be no changing His mind. And they went away weeping and sorrowful…





Yet the bride and Bridegroom enjoyed each other for all eternity.





“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 25:13



{A re-post from the archives}

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your kind thoughts...

Follow by Email