A year ago at this time, I was in the midst of preparing a wedding. The months were full, and time was passing quickly. I knew of many tasks which needed to be completed: clothing purchased, decorations made, and food organized. I also knew that time spent on internal preparations was needed. Was Elizabeth prepared to be a wife? She was moving out of one home into another, from her father to a husband. How would this transition be for her? What about me? Lots of thoughts and questions ran through my mind.
At every wedding I attend, my favorite part is watching the groom as his bride walks down the aisle to him. I love watching the groom’s eyes light up with joy and love—curls come to the corners of his mouth and sometimes tears stream down his cheeks. The groom understands that this one walking towards him will soon be his, to love and cherish and care for.
Yet all the love that pours from an earthly bridegroom is nothing compared to the love given to the Church by her Bridegroom, Jesus.
As I anticipated my daughter’s wedding, so too do I need to anticipate that great wedding day, when Christ returns for His bride, the Church. As I prepared for my daughter’s wedding, so too do I need to be prepared for the return of Christ.
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
All the virgins looked prepared as they carried their lamps to meet the Bridegroom. Yet when the time came for the lamps to be lit, half of them discovered they were only prepared externally. They did not have any oil.
How do we know if we are prepared to meet Jesus? The Bible equates oil with the Holy Spirit. One who is prepared will have the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This means there will be actions in their life that confirm the relationship that is in their heart.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
As we celebrate Easter, remember that Jesus will return as the Bridegroom for His bride, the Church. Do you have oil? We cannot borrow or buy oil; it is a gift given to us by God. Is it evident to those around you? Ask God to give you more and more of His Spirit, evidenced in your outward behavior as you love those in your home, as you show kindness to the neighbor who is rude to you and as you have self-control over your tongue.
Be ready for the Bridegroom.