You must be ready

Haiku for the faithful

You must be ready!
He tells his friends a story,
as is his practice.

Ten bridesmaids with lamps
go out to greet the bridegroom;
a flaming escort.

The neighbourhood girls
invite themselves to the feast
with dancing and song.

The bridegroom is late.
The maids rest their heads and sleep.

The lamps keep burning.

The shout at midnight:
Here he is! Come to meet him!
Bridesmaids trim their lamps.

Five have brought spare oil.
The other five entreat them:
Give us some of yours!

There won’t be enough.
Make haste and rouse the dealers;
buy oil for yourselves.

They return, their lamps
recharged and burning brightly.
The rest have gone in.

The door has been shut.
Lord, lord, let us in! they cry.
Sorry, you’re too late!

Set your sights upon
the kingdom, Jesus told them,
make yourselves ready.


© Ken Rookes 2017



In the parable of bridesmaids
bringing light to the wedding celebrations,
it is their state of preparedness
that finally determines
who will gain entry to the banquet.
We can work the maths out
on the fingers of two hands.
Five go in; five are knocked back.
For the girls in the story
it was flasks of spare oil
that made the difference,
keeping their lamps burning, shining bright,
and keeping the invitation current.

It appears that gospel invitations
to come to banquets, to follow Jesus,
to attend wedding feasts,
are all invitations to live truly.
Stay awake, be ready.
Prepare yourself,
discipline your body, train your mind;
carry sufficient oil – whatever that might be
for you. Keep your Swiss army knife handy.
When you find the invitation extended,
determine to accept it.
Grasp hold, enter in, live to the fullest
and love in the extreme.

© Ken Rookes 2014