This is The Day! Trinity +22, Year A

Matthew 25:1-13

“Behold! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”

The Condemned man ate a hearty breakfast, we are told

On my wedding day, I ate a hearty breakfast . . . I ate a hearty breakfast because my best man, Mike, who faced a highly significant role in the day’s events, had never been to a wedding before. And he was nervous.

He was nervous because he took his responsibilities with great seriousness, as indeed he does to this day. So he couldn’t eat his breakfast

So I did . . . as well as my own

Of course a Wedding requires lots of people to show up not just in the sense of attending, but in the sense of playing their part, taking their responsibility seriously. Thus they honour the significance of the occasion. Not to do so is to fail to recognise and dishonour the significance of the day.

And the significance of the day is huge.

The condemned man ate a hearty breakfast – for to be married is to agree to die to the person you are, and to submit to the Way of love, which is to be changed. The two become one flesh. That cannot happen unless each dies to their own interests.

As we have explored from time to time, both in our evening talks and on a Sunday morning, to love is to be changed. To refuse to change is to refuse love.

So the wedding day is like a death . . . and a new birth . . . it is a day of great significance and everyone has to be ready to play the part appointed to them on that Day

Our Gospel is a Wedding Parable. Jesus has been talking about this day all along.

And now The Day has come! ‘The Rain fell, the floods came, and the winds howled and beat against the house, and the house on the . . .’ Was the house ready?? The Day will reveal it

So far in Matthew, this has been flagged up clearly in the sermon on the mount, Those who have heard his words and done them . . .’ they are ready. They are ‘The Wise’ Those who have heard his words and not done them; they are the foolish. Why? For the Day is coming

Jesus’ actions and words have drawn the attention of the Pharisees and others. They have been questioning him, over and over. By whose authority do you do these things? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar? If a woman is married seven times, in the resurrection whose wife will she be? But Jesus having confounded them, then flips the tables. Whose Son is the Messiah? ‘David’s’ Really? How then does David call him Lord? ‘After this they durst ask him no more questions’

The die is cast.  We find ourselves now in a very brief window in which  Jesus prepares his disciples for what is to come, the Day fast approaching. He tells them of the destruction of the Temple, and then over and over with symbolic actions like the cursing of the fig tree, or in parables he gives them one clear message – This is Near! Be ready! You, My disciples, the day is near – it is time for you to play the part I have appointed to you . . .

Having had more than a passing role to play in weddings – there are strong parallels. The courting, the engagement, the save the date, the booking of venues, sorting out how everyone will have plenty to eat, the dress, the flowers . . .The Day is Coming! The Day is Coming!,  and all around people given roles and responsibilities. The Invitations . . . and so the day dawns, and everything is to click into gear, and it is time for those who have roles need to step up

“Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. These bridesmaids, or better ‘virgins’, have a role. They are to light the way for the bridegroom. Yet, When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them” . . . Jesus has given out this role to his disciples. 

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.’

This is their work – nothing else. Obedience to the teaching of Jesus. Many turn up at the end of the sermon saying, ‘Lord, Lord . . . haven’t we done all these [other] things’ He says ‘I never knew you’. So too the foolish bridesmaids – ‘Lord, Lord! Open to us.’ ‘I never knew you’

In a few moments we shall baptise Wyndelyn. Following her baptism, we shall give her a lit candle and call upon her ‘Shine as a light in the world, to the glory of God the Father’ We say to her, through Ethan and Sara, Christ has made you his own, he has made you one of his disciples, and he has given you a work

Christ gives that commission to everyone here. I am giving my Life for you, I am giving my life to you – Be full of my life – Be full of the oil of the Holy Spirit – Be full of God! To Know Him. That is your work.

It is huge. It is why we have this community the church, to encourage one another in this massive responsibility Christ has given to us. It is why we don’t baptise except into the church  – into the body of Christ.

It is where we surrender our own lives to receive His Risen Life

It is the marriage feast of the Lamb – Death for the sake of Love which rises to new life

We stand upon the great Stage – the lights are going up and the curtains are being drawn. This is the Day!

“Behold! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.”

Amen

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