Are You Ready?

by Cynthia Williams Insko
Children's Minister, First Baptist Church, Frankfort

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps . . . and those who were ready went with the Bridegroom into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.”
—Matthew 25:1-4, 10

Each Sunday at the threshold of our Godly Play children’s worship classroom our doorkeeper bends down, looks each child in the eye, calls her by name and asks, “Are you ready?” Answering “Yes,” one by one the children enter our sacred space, readying themselves to come close to God and for God to come close to them. I sit in our story circle eagerly watching the expectant faces of the approaching children, imagining their hearts open wide to receive the Kingdom of God. I can’t help but wonder, “Am I ready?” What would our Sundays be like if we adults paused to ready or hearts to receive God’s presence.

Jesus tells the story of ten virgins awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. When the announcement finally comes, “Here’s the groom! Come out and see him!” only five are ready with wicks trimmed and lamps full of oil.

We prepare for Sundays in many ways: arranging classrooms, studying Sunday School lessons, rehearsing music, writing sermons, setting the Lord’s Table. Getting ready requires that we create space in our calendars and in our buildings, working diligently through weekly routines and rituals. Indeed, our careful attention to detail signals to others that we care and we are expectant.

But my heart is a secret, private space prepared only by me with the guidance of the Spirit. Are the lamps of our hearts full and our wicks trimmed, ready to be ignited by the refreshing arrival of our Beloved Bridegroom? Next Sunday is coming. The door of opportunity is opening. Are you ready?

This post originally appeared on Smyth & Helwys' Next Sunday Resources blog, Coracle, which highlights Baptist Women in Ministry devotionals in the column Thrive.