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Gospel centred sermons, based on the lectionary often in advance.

Oct 26, 2011

Focus reading: Matthew 25:1-13

The parable of the ten wise and foolish bridesmaids is one of those passages of the Bible which is sometimes a bit difficult to get a hold of or understand.

Oil is the key to understanding what this parable is all about. In this sermon I’m going to argue that the Oil is the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit is the way that Christ is made present to us. I think the children’s song "Give me Oil in my lamp" is pretty much right. 

The other place in Matthew that speaks of wise and foolish people is the story in chapter 7 of the wise man who built his house upon the rock, and the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The Rock is Jesus and his teaching, the sand is something/ anything else.

We are called to keep our lamps burning, not using our own resources but using the resources that God freely gives to us, as a gift. Our lives should be lives which ask God to fill us with Christ as he comes to us through the work of the Spirit.

Our daily prayer to God should I believe be that of the children’s song. “God fill me with the Spirit that I might live a life powered by and centred on Christ and his love. A life which will witness to his love in word and action” Or to put it more simply “Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning!”

Questions for thought or Discussion

What is your response to the idea that the oil in this parable is actually the Spirit or a relationship with Christ through the Spirit? Why won't the wise bridesmaids share their oil? If the oil is our relationship with Christ, what do you think of the foolish bridesmaids idea of heading off to buy some? What might have happened if they had stayed around? Who are you more like the foolish or wise bridesmaids?