Failing to plan means we are planning to fail

      QUICK THOUGHTS:  [1] The rapture did not occur on May 21st and it did not occur on October 21st …. so …..; [2] We do not have to wait until we die to experience heaven.

     IMAGINE THE FOLLOWING …. you have invited 20 people to your home for Thanksgiving Dinner — an old fashioned, traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.  As the day approached, you were more and more aware you “better get started” on this dinner.  But, gettting started never happened.  When you called the local deli on Tuesday to see if you could order the advertised “complete dinner” to be brought home, you learned it was too late; they were completely booked.  A plea to the local Piccadilly for dinners, also met with, “sorry, our deadline was Monday.”  So, off you go to the grocery store on Wednesday afternoon …. you and 100’s of others who were rooting through the remaining frozen turkeys.  You looked at the fresh vegetables that were well picked over.  The desert section had only the less appetizing cakes and cookies.  You get home, start preparing and then say, “we will get up early in the morning and start fresh.”  But, ‘somehow’ the alarm doesn’t go off and you wake up at 8:30 with everyone due at noon ………sound like a disaster unfolding??

          While the Gospel reading {Matthew 25:1-13}might sound like selfish folks not sharing their goods with others …. that is not the message at all.  It is about [1] planning ahead of time and BEING PREPARED AND [2] realizing there are some things that cannot be borrowed.

         let’s look at point # 2 first:  you cannot borrow faith from your parents or your siblings or your best friends or from your spouse or from the parish priest.  We must develop and grow in faith ourselves …. so when trouble comes, we live on and by our faith.  Can’t borrow faith in those critical moments.

       we might be inspired by the courage of someone else, but we cannot borrow courage from someone else.  We face challenges, we win, we lose, we succeed, we fail … we develop our own courage.

        we can’t borrow happiness from the people next door — we live our own lives, follow our own path, create our own dreams — and we live our own bliss/happiness in becoming the person God created us to be.

        Think of the oil as the wisdom to live prepared — to be watchful for God as God comes to us … not just in Sunday worship — but in the greetings of a friend, the embrace of a trusted colleague, the innocence of a child, a small success at work, a surprise of a free evening …..to see the hand of God coming to us and gifting us requires a watchful mind, a prepared spirit.  Are you prepared for God visiting this weekend?  Are you prepared to feel the presence of God, here in this space, in this moment?

        Do you live foolishly, unprepared?  Do you live wisely, ready for whatever might come?  We have come to know that life is unpredictable.

        On All Saints Day we heard the Gospel of the Beatitudes.  Those who live these virtues see heaven right around the corner …. those who practice these virtues begin to live the peace of heaven TODAY … now … at this time …. not just in the kingdom to come.

       Many people prepared for the end of the world to come on May 21, 2011.  It did not happen then — or on the revised date of October 21st.  One day it will come.  For me and you, the personal coming will more than likely happen before the moment of rapture.  AND WE DO NEED to be prepared for that.  BUT, JUST PERHAPS … the Gospel for this weekend is about a lot more than being prepared for death ……it is about being prepared to live … to live fully … to live completely …. to live joyfully.

      Are the plans you are making preparing you for what you really want?  Realistically, failing to plan IS A PLAN …. a poor one, but still it is a plan.  Today, many wonder if they have prepared well enough for the years of retirement.

       As a pastor, I often challenge students with the line:  failing to plan means planning to fail.  Too often we have seen just that reality.  Let’s plan well …. let’s be ready to live well.  That is what God wishes for us all.

hjm

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