Pilgrim Uniting Church, Adelaide SA
SUN 08-NOV-2020 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Phil Hofmann
Pentecost 23 – Alert to the moment – During his three year stay in Israel/Palestine, Phil was lucky enough to be in the village formerly known as Cana of Galilee when he witnessed an elaborate and joyous street procession, in which a bridegroom and his attendant were making their circuitous way on horseback to the bride's home, from where the bride would be taken to the groom's home to be married during a wedding feast that had already been going strong for several days. This Middle Eastern wedding custom is virtually unchanged since the time of Jesus. In Matthew's account of the parable of the five wise and five foolish bridesmaids, that particular groom must have chosen a very long and circuitous route to his bride's home, because the bridesmaids had all fallen asleep by the time he arrived towards midnight. When they were woken up, five of the bridesmaids found they had run out of lamp oil while the other five had planned ahead and had some oil in reserve; and the bridesmaids who had been wise enough to plan ahead refused to help their unfortunately foolish companions. Like most parables, this one has many possible meanings, and it's open-ended. Is it a lesson about the return of the Messiah and the Great Wedding Feast in the last days? Is it an exhortation to maintain acts of faith, with oil representing good deeds? Is it a warning to stay awake and not miss out on life's opportunities? The season of Advent is approaching with its challenges, and we must not miss the key moments when they come. At the school where our preacher Phil is the chaplain, one of the students has prepared a meditation based on her experience as a victim of cystic fibrosis, and for her, breathing is the single most important thing you can do. In ancient Hebrew, the sound of breathing is the unpronouceable name of God. Breath is Spirit. Breath is the beginning and the ending.
Matthew 25: 1-13

Playing Time   –   24:29