What would it be like to be a follower of Jesus, on an adventure. You left your boat (or your tax booth) and are out traipsing around Galilee and Jerusalem. You belong. You feel the presence of the holy. You hear teachings that fill a yearning you did not know you had. And then. Then it got real, fast. He was on that donkey and people were cheering. At first you thought riding in on a donkey was a little weird but you too got caught up in the cheering and the shouting of “Hosannah!”
I had to re-strap my sandal on, in the crush of the crowd it came off my foot. While I was trying to catch up, I saw the Pharisees and the Scribes, the Sadducees and the Herodians watching by the sidelines, scowling, perturbed, in small groups arguing. And it all felt like danger was lurking. And I remember what Jesus said that Peter refused to hear. And a terror gripped me. All the teachings became terribly important. Like the ten bridesmaids. At first I laughed at how foolish the five were who did not have enough oil and scoffed at the five who would not share. But then I realized, what if the oil was not mine to share? What if God determined who was blessed and who was not? Isn’t this what Jesus was teaching us? What if I was in the banquet for the bridegroom and the door was shutting, would I want to stay in a place I did not know? Or would I want to go back to what I knew, even if it was not perfect?
I am prepared with my oil to follow Jesus. At least I think I am. But we are entering Jerusalem, where they kill prophets and where they were looking for those around Jesus to either testify against him or to crucify with him. Would I have stayed with Jesus? I am sure when we are talking about being in the Kingdom. But what about when we talk of the sacrifices I will have to make to belong in the Kingdom. Like those invited to the Wedding Banquet: Will I be too busy organizing the things around me, the things I think are very important – like my house? Will I be too busy working and taking care of business – even a committee meeting? Will I be too busy because one of my children is asking for help organizing their stuff or working on their school project? When will I be too busy with God instead?
Will I choose to be in the kingdom forsaking all other places? Will I let the door of the other possibilities close or will I be forever looking over my shoulder for an escape route because it is too hard, too scary, or too unfamiliar?
I pray I am ready with my lamp and oil, and that I stay the course, no matter what. And I know that I can only do this with God’s help!