“Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” is one of my favorite songs. I can’t say the same for the parable that inspired it. It’s too easy to imagine myself out of oil and barred from the banquet. I try hard to be conscientious but there is always some detail forgotten, some oil knocked over and spilled.
I’ve run out of oil many times in my life. Each instance unfolded into a sacred moment when God erased my feelings of competence and control and replenished my awareness that it’s God, not me, running the show.
These days I have enough oil to keep my lamp burning. But I pray that I won’t forget the lessons I’ve learned in the darkness or turn away from others in need. It’s all too easy at Christmas, when the din of holiday preparations can drown out their voices.
If the kingdom of God welcomes all, then the best way we can prepare is to share our oil and not be ashamed of asking for more when we need it.
This message is adapted from “Meditation on Those Poor Foolish Virgins” written by Anne Basye in the December 2004 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. Today we remember the martyr Lucy who died on this day in 304.