JESUS MAFA: The Ten Young Women
"Don’t you hate it when that happens?"
Jesus says about that wedding
Where some bridesmaids missed the party
That they thought they'd be attending.
No one here is being callous,
It was simply customary;
Bridesmaids who could join inside were
Those who'd planned, and had not tarried.
Grace does not appear on schedule,
Like an entry on your smart phone;
Opportunities to love are
Tests of faith, and even backbone.
"He's an on time God," the song goes,
"Might not come just when you want him,
"He'll be there right on time," which means,
Not being ready, will not stop him.
Don't miss the love that's put before you,
For it will come, and not ignore you.
Scott L. Barton
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
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Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Raphael: Joshua Addressing the Israeites at Shechem (ca. 1516-18)
sketch for fresco in Loggia of Raphael in the Vatican, Teylers Museum, Haarlem
Not the Good Old Days
Once to every one and nation
Comes the moment to decide;
Sometimes hymns, though out of favor,
Tell a truth from which we hide.
Glibly, we imagine back in
"Bible times," "their" faith was strong;
Surely God spoke clearly, therefore
Many for the past now long.
Joshua didn't see it that way:
"Our ancestors got it wrong!
Gods were served beyond the river,
Now's the time for a new song!"
New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth,
Faith means always new decisions,
Grace demands we find the truth.
Scott L. Barton
(The first two lines of the first and last stanzas come from the 1845 poem by James R. Lowell that he wrote as a protest against the U. S.'s war with Mexico, and which was put to Thomas J. Williams' tune EBENEZER.)
Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac; “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” The people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem.