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Monday, September 20, 2010

9/21/10 Luke 12:35-40 A Thief in the Night

35 "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

(Ten Virgins, William Blake 1822; They were told to keep their lamps ready Mt. 25)

Thoughts: Just heard a few minutes before I wrote this that a young 23 year old man, Kenny McKinley, a player for the Denver Broncos and former University of South Carolina football star, died.  For most, this was a total shock.  Kenny held about five receiving records at his university.  Most would have loved to have been in his place.  Yet there was sadness there as well-- in his family and in his repeated injuries that kept him from playing.  Now he is dead- at 23.  Life is fragile and short- even if you live to 100.  Life is full of surprises- like a thief in the night.  God is not controlled by our expectations, and our time is not our own.  We should always be watchful and ready, for every single day is a gift in this short life of ours.

Prayer: Lord, be with those who are grieving today out of crushed hopes and expectations.  Be with the McKinley family.  Help me, Lord, to trust in you despite the sadness and surprises of life. ("Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning" Hot Tuna 1986)

John Calvin Abridged: Luke places this parable in a collection of sayings. He prefaces this saying that disciples should wait for their master with their loins girded and carrying burning lamps in their hands.  He contrasts being ready with sloth, and the holding of the lamps with the darkness of ignorance.  He enjoins us to be ready and equipped for the journey, that we may pass rapidly through this world not having any home in our hearts besides heaven.  God gives the title "His children" only to those who acknowledge they are pilgrims and aliens on this earth; we should not only be prepared to leave it, but we should also move forward in an uninterrupted course toward the heavenly life.  We are surrounded on all sides by darkness.  Yet God furnishes lamps- like those who are travelling on a journey at night.  The first thing to know is that we need to run vigorously, and second to make sure we are on the right road- so we do not go astray. "Girding of the loins" refers to the custom of holding up their long robes in order to move quickly. 

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