Thirty-Second Ordinary

The Introduction 

For a few years I worked in downtown San Francisco. It’s a lovely city by every standard, but it has one major drawback that gives newcomers pause: it’s located on an earthquake fault line. When you ask long-term residents how they cope with the idea that at any moment, without warning, their entire world could collapse under their feet, they look at you with the amusement of experience. ‘You get used to it,’ they tell you.

Most people who live on fault lines dismiss the odds. They don’t have the emergency supplies on hand that local phone books recommend: enough bottled water for several days, flashlights, spare batteries, a transistor radio. To non-residents, this seems like madness. But consider all the things you may not be prepared for. How many people go through life without health insurance? Who prepares for divorce, disability, or even unemployment? In some ways, we all go about without oil in our lamps, like the five in this week’s story, playing the odds that we won’t come up short.

One way to be prepared for any eventuality is to ground our lives, not in fluctuating circumstances, but in Christ. Though the earth shiver and crack open beneath us someday, we won’t be lost if Christ is the bedrock upon which we stand.

What is the central truth upon which your life is grounded?
Will that truth support you ‘come hell or high water’?

Keep vigil for wisdom. Make time for spiritual reading regularly, as well as prayer, solitude, and worship. Get into the habit of discerning God’s will as you make decisions regarding relationships and resources.

The Scripture
(Matthew 25: 13 The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids)

Jesus said, ‘So stay alert, for you know neither the day nor the hour’.

The Story – Moving On

Prepare for the coming of the Kingdom? I’m stressed out just preparing for my upcoming move to another state. After 27 years living in Victoria, I’m moving to a very small town in rural New South Wales. I’m in the thick of getting ready for it: packing boxes, calling movers, visiting with friends to say goodbye. I’m worried about getting my things there in one piece, worried about how much it’s going to cost, worried about how I’ll handle the transition to a very different kind of lifestyle.

While the uncertainty is scary, it’s also the best part. I can’t wait for all the new people I’ll meet, all the new adventures I’ll have, all the new places I’ll explore. I have no idea what awaits me in this new chapter of my life, but I can’t wait to find out. Of course, there will be a million logistical hassles of settling in on that end, too, but I’ve done it enough times to know that’s just the external busy work necessary for the internal work of change. Which is the whole reason I’m moving: I think God is calling me to grow in a different direction and it’s my job to keep my heart prepared with openness to what comes.

The Reflection

Our watchfulness must be a daily thing. I learned my first lesson in responsibility the day I returned home from school to find my guinea pigs missing. I rushed to ask my mother about them. ‘I gave them away because you didn’t take care of them’. ‘But I did take care of them!’ ‘Joni, I gave them away ten days ago!’

The Commissioning

Your faith is strong; you are determined!
We will respond to God wholeheartedly.
You are prepared for discipleship; you will follow Jesus!
We will meet Christ in our needy friends and neighbours.
You will work together; you are one in fellowship!
We will participate with enthusiasm in the life of the faith community.
Your faith is strong; you are determined!

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