Most of us love to attend celebrations with friends or families, such as family reunions, birthday parties or weddings. When you are getting ready for a special event, you have to plan ahead. You’ll need to do some shopping, for a card or a gift, or for food to share. You might need to dress up. And if you’re in the wedding, you will probably wear a special outfit!
Sometimes you are so excited that it’s really hard to wait. Sometimes it’s a long way to the party, and it seems to take forever to get there! The wait is easier if you have something to do; sometimes you, your mom or your dad might plan ahead and bring some books, a game, or something to enjoy while you are waiting. That makes the time go faster. If it’s a very long drive you might even fall asleep!
Today’s scripture is a parable (or story) about waiting for a wedding, and planning ahead. In Jesus’s time, weddings were very large gatherings, with a ceremony and a huge feast that lasted late into the night. Of course, there were no cars. People traveled to the wedding on foot, on a donkey; if they were wealthy, they rode a horse. There was no electricity and there were no batteries. When it was dark, people used very simple oil lamps. The lamps looked like this.
The lamps were small, and the wick (or string) is just like the wick in a candle.
Here’s what happened. There was once a huge wedding. The bride had asked ten of her friends to be bridesmaids. The groom (or bridegroom) was travelling from far away with all of his friends and family. The bridesmaids were asked to wait for the bridegroom and his party, and to welcome them when they arrived. Each bridesmaid brought an oil lamp, because they knew the group might arrive after dark. Five of the ten bridesmaids brought extra oil for their lamps, and five did not. They all sat and waited, and waited; they waited so long that they fell asleep.
At midnight they heard a shout. “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” They all got up, and trimmed the wicks on their lamps. The lamps had been burning a long time and were about to go out; all of the lamps needed more oil. The five bridesmaids who had extra oil added it to their own lamps, but they did not have enough to share.
The other five bridesmaids had to go buy some more oil. While they were doing that, the bridegroom, his friends, and his family arrived. The five bridesmaids who had oil, the bridegroom and all of his friends and family went into the wedding banquet to join the bride and her family – and the door was shut. No one else could enter.
The bridesmaids who didn’t plan ahead could not attend the wedding. Do you think they brought extra oil the next time they were in a wedding? I’ll bet they did! Their mistake made them wiser.
Who do you know that is wise? A wise person is honest and fair, and cares about other people. He or she has learned from their experience and never stops learning; they are humble and do not brag. They have friends who are wise.
“Walk with the wise and become wise.” – Proverbs 13:20
We are all different, and we all change as we grow older, but each of us has a light within us that can grow into wisdom if we take care of it and make good decisions. As you grow and learn, as you help those around you, and admit your mistakes, you will become wiser.
Let your light shine! And enjoy this wonderful song! This Little Light of Mine
This is a difficult time for most families but, as we let our lights shine, look around us and look forward to Thanksgiving, we can see that we have a great deal to be thankful for. May the week ahead bring you and your family many joyful moments and hope for the future.
This week’s Creation Care resources for families – shared by Reverend Sue & the Creation Care Team:
HUNGER: Photographer Peter Menzel took photos of 36 families in 24 countries; each family is shown with the food that they eat in one week. Countries include Australia, Bhutan, Cuba, Sudan, Ecuador, Greeenland, Japan, Mali, …the list goes on. All of the photos & information can also be found here. Menzel’s photographs and information about each family were collected in 2 books; What the World Eats is for kids, and Hungry Planet is for adults.
Select a country with food security issues, and plan a typical meal of the poorest people, possibly rice or porridge, to help establish an appreciation for the challenges the less fortunate face in feeding themselves.
WATER HEATERS: Children of a certain age can be taught about the sources of energy we use to heat water. And they can be taught to be wise about the use of energy in heating our water, and the use of water itself. Teach your children to use hot water sparingly. Siblings can have a family competition to see how little water they can use in a day. Keep a chart. Offer a prize. You can educate your children early about the reasons we should conserve water and use it mindfully.
JUNKMAIL: Use that junk mail to play Post Office with your children; they’d also have fun making paper airplanes, paper fans, or paper snowflakes.
WIND POWER: Visit the three wind turbines near the Blackburn Circle. Stand underneath and marvel at their height and size…and listen.