By Rev Carol Harvey
At this time of year we think of preparation and I remember for example my mother getting me prepared for my first day at Ballyclare High School.
The story often told was the outfitter’s comment on measuring my shoulders for my new blazer - you’ve got a broad one here Mrs!!
Some of your children or grandchildren will be starting school for the first time - maybe primary school, grammar school or university. Some people have even started preparing for Christmas!
In Parish planning we will very soon be looking at preparations for the advent season, a season of preparation in itself - preparation for the coming of God into our world.
All preparations for the practical outworking of our lives - but what about our spiritual preparations? How can we be prepared spiritually and what are we to prepare for?
In Matthew Chapter 25: 1-8, Jesus tells the parable of the ten bridesmaids, five foolish and five wise. The foolish ones had brought lamps but with no oil to keep them burning, the wise ones had brought extra oil and when the bridegroom came to bring them into the wedding banquet they were present and ready, whilst the foolish bridesmaids had gone to the dealers to get more oil. When they came back and knocked the door the chilling reply was “I do not know you!” What fearsome words for a Christian to hear! Why? Because we never talk to Him, because we don’t long for His presence, because we haven’t tended to the needs of “one of the least of these my brothers” (Matthew 25 vs40) - He doesn’t know us.
The parable ends with words designed to shape us up and to alert us to what we must do. “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” or as Baden Powell would have said, “Be prepared.”
If you are at the beginning of your life’s journey, be prepared - get to know the Saviour. If you are in the middle of your life’s journey, be prepared - cultivate that relationship, build on it, let it inform your every task. If you are at the end of your life’s journey, rest in the blessed assurance of His presence with you every step of the way.
May God bless you and keep you as you grow in love with Him.