Easyjet, I imagine, have flown any amount of foolish bridesmaids on noisy, alcohol-fuelled ‘hen parties’ all over Europe.
But a recent experience brought to mind Christ’s observation about bridesmaids.
Let me explain to you a little more...!
Having checked-in online for a flight from London Luton to Belfast at 11.30 a.m. last Saturday, my wife and I arrived at the airport at 10 a.m.
We noticed immediately that the departure boards informed us that the Belfast flight was ‘estimated at 12.35’, and that the gate would be shown at 11.50 - twenty minutes later that our scheduled flight time.
Aware that we had time to spare, we passed through security, engaged in some people-watching and enjoyed a holiday treat, a cooked breakfast.
About 11.50 we approached the ‘departure board’ again and discovered to our horror that the gate as closed. Apparently, the flight was on time, but we heard no final call, and others shared our predicament.
Easyjet customer services insisted that the false message was not of their doing, laid blame at the door of the airport operators, and demanded £80 each to book us on the next available flight.
Certainly, we ourselves should have checked the boards more regularly, but the upshot was a rather costly lesson in vigilance.
That is the thrust of Christ’s parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids (Matthew chapter 25;1-13,) a parable which focuses on the challenge Christ presents to each of us.
Apparently, it was part of the ritual of an Eastern marriage for the bridegroom to arrive unannounced in the hope of catching the bridesmaids unprepared.
In the story, the bridegroom arrived and some of the bridesmaids had no oil for their lamps.
As a result, they were shut out from the wedding feast.
Jesus ended the parable with the words, ‘Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour’.
A friend said of a great Scottish churchman, Archbishop Leighton, that he had never known him say or do anything which he would not have wished to be the last word or action of his life.
If we live in that way, we will be ready for life’s final call.
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