The Ten Bridesmaids

Matthew 25:1-13

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Song suggestions:

Come now is the time to worship

Come and see the shining hope

My Jesus, my Saviour

Lord Jesus think on me

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace

Take my life

O breath of life

All that I am

My Lord he is a coming soon

Sing Hosanna (Give me oil)

Soon and very soon

Make way

Blessed be the name

I am a new creation

CHILDREN'S ADDRESS:

Full ‘GIRL PUPPET’ text

I think that’s a lovely poem Lally, but tell me . . .

I hear you have a very special weekend coming up soon?

She nods

Do you want to tell everyone what you’ll be doing next Saturday or shall I?

She points to me

Lally is going to be a bridesmaid for the first time! Are you excited?

(She nods)

How old are you now?

18

Quite a grown up girl. What are you looking forward to most?

The hen party on Tuesday?

Sounds mmm exciting! Is it your job to look after the bride, to keep her safe all night? I think that’s what a bridesmaid’s does.

You’ll be too busy! Doing what? Propping up the …

Lally, bridesmaids have to be sensible, and wise and not silly girls. They have a responsible job to do.Now tell everyone what you’ll have to do on the bride’s big day!

Whispers.

Well besides catching the bouquet when the bride throws it?

(she whispers)

You are getting prepared? . . . Good! To do what?. . . link arms with the dishy best man. Be serious Lally. What else?

(whispers)

You’re going to put your white dress on, and you might wear a veil. No Lally you don’t want to outshine the bride on her big day.

(whispers)

No Pippa did not! That was the press’s fault. She looked lovely, and it was a real royal occasion. I thought she made a splendid bridesmaid

(she hangs her head)

Look Lally this is not all about you. I don’t think you’re taking this job seriously at all.A bridesmaid must be wise, calm and reliable.

It is her job to make the bride happy, and see that she comes first. Promise me you’ll be a good girl at the wedding Lally.

(silence and then Lally whispers)

Yes I’m sure you’ll be next up the aisle. Have you anyone in mind?

(she points)

That boy with the blond hair just over there? I don’t think he’s old enough Lally.

(whispers)

No Lally, you can’t marry the man who read the bible, He’s spoken for already!

(she goes into a huff)

But I did hear you’re going to sing a song at the wedding, that’s wonderful! I’m really proud of you. Which song have you chosen.

(she whispers)

No not Gold Digger!

Love will tear us apart! NO!

Don’t marry her, but me! NO Lally.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E!

You’re having me on Lally!

(shakes her head)

I’ll tell you what! Give me oil in my lamp. That’s a very good song for a bridesmaid to sing! Do you know it?

(shakes her head)

Well we’ll all teach you it! It’s our next hymn.

(She asks) Why did the bridesmaids in the story need oil for their lamps?

Well that’s something I’ll be talking to everyone about later, but we’ll sing first.

(she whispers on her way off stage)

No that nice man with the glasses in the back seat is married to me! He’s not for you either.

Drama:

The Ten Bridesmaids

Two bridesmaids appear on stage. One (A) represents the five wise bridesmaids, and is sensibly dressed. The second (B) represents the five foolish bridesmaids, and it is obvious from what she is wearing that she is a very silly person. They each hold a small bouquet of flowers.

The narrator (N) reads the gospel account.

N) Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

A) I’M A BRIDESMAID

B) AND SO AM I! (titters in a silly fashion, behind her bouquet of flowers)

N) Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

A) I’M VERY WISE

B) AND SO AM I! (again (B) titters wildly into her flowers , while (A) looks at her, then at the audience and shakes her head.)

N) When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

(A) holds up her lamp and flask of oil.

(B) holds up her lamp and titters sheepishly.

N) As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.

(A) I’M FEELING DROWSY ((A)’s head drops to one side and eyes close)

(B) AND SO AM I! ((B)’s titter this time is cut short, as her head drops to one side and eyes close)

(N) But at midnight there was a shout.

‘Look here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him’.(this sentence can be shouted by someone from the back of church for effect)

(N) Then all the bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.

(A) I’M READY

(B) (looks shocked) OO-OH !!!

(N) The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out’. ((B) mimes A DESPERATE pleading with (A))

(N) But the wise replied,’ No there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves) ((A) shakes her head apologetically, and shrugs shoulders)

(B) (Runs off to get oil.)

(N) And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came… (short piece of wedding music is played, on CD or organ)

(N) …and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. ((A) follows the imaginary bridegroom down the aisle and goes out closing an imaginary door behind her)

(N) Later the other bridesmaids came also… ((B) comes running in breathless, and she pounds on the imaginary door)

(N)…And they said, ‘Lord, Lord open to us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

((B)Titters for a while embarrassed, then her giggles turn to sobs, and she runs out.)

(N) Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour!

* Possible activity Children to make bridesmaid paper chain cut-outs from long thin paper with scissors with hands joined?

Address:

One of the worst things as a school child was seeing a bus coming round the corner, in the hope of getting home early , only to see the words ‘NOT IN SERVICE’ on the front of it as it zoomed by! equipped but not fulfilling the role

Foolish bridesmaids:

Were equipped, but not fulfilling the role, resting during the wedding preparations,lazy, laid back, not present, a bridesmaid in name only

WISE Bridesmaid’s Role and best Qualities below LINKED with , what a real Christian life ought to be like. (Show Powerpoint pictures to illustrate the following (if possible):-

· A bridesmaid will not seek to ‘outshine’ the bride or ‘steal her thunder’, even though she will dress in beautiful clothes.

· She fits in with other bridesmaids and tries to discover her unique role in it all! Maximum efficiency with minimum of tears.

· She rejoices exceedingly and keep spirits high

· She is always on the alert, watchful and a good listener.

· She will keep lines of communication open and will cooperate.

· She will try to warm to the bride’s bright ideas, and new initiatives, even if they aren’t to her taste

· She brings out the bride’s best features.

· She makes sure the bride doesn’t trip up

· She is a trusted friend and confidante, generous, outgoing and kind.

· She encourages the bride, supports her, and keeps her calm.

· She will help each guest to feel welcome

· She is a WITNESS to the happy event

· She is ready and prepared for action!

· She realises her value because she has been chosen, and for this she expresses her thanks

Bridesmaid/ Christian an excellent analogy!

But that’s where it ends because anyone can be all these.

A Christian should be all of these, but a little but more!

What is this little bit more? THE OIL IN THE LAMP?

· no mention here of a NEW LIFE (BAPTISM, OLD LIFE DIES) that begins; (born all over again. ) OIL OF BAPTISM

· There’s no mention that a Christian must die to self each day; No longer do they live, but Christ lives in them, to be present again physically in his world.

(OIL OF ANOINTED MINISTRY)

· Therefore they should have the same mind and heart that was in Jesus; that same generosity, love and compassion for our neighbour (OIL OF SEF-SACRIFICE)

· There’s no mention of growing in fellowship and in the knowledge of God. (OIL OF UNITY Psalm 133)

· There’s no mention of the sheer joy and hope, comfort and peace, we can experience throughout the ups and downs of daily life., and praying for one another! (OIL OF HEALING)

Here in these are the oils of anointing, sacrifice, healing, blessing , holy unction etc? Is this what the OIL stands for in the story? Or not?

If the BRIDE represents the CHURCH ; the GROOM is JESUS : then who are the foolish and the wise bridesmaids in the story?

Pharisees/ disciples? non believer/ believers? the world/ God's chosen? OR

Because these are bridesmaids who’ve ALL been chosen, is this about true service 'love in action' or none at all?

Could the OIL stand for true belief and action

But just let me show you an interesting picture which I found in the same set of GOOGLE images as for the word ‘BRIDESMAID’ Look at final image. It is of Jesus , lying over the world with his arms wrapped round it.

Is he crying here for his world or praying for it?

Why has someone entered this picture in the Google file BRIDESMAID?

Discuss this for a few minutes with people sitting round you, and if you come up with WHY would you please come and write it down on the cards you see on tables around the room. Is Jesus here in this picture, praying for or CRYING for his world?

Musical interlude : Children show me their work here

SUMMARY:

What will Jesus find when (NOT IF) he returns? And what would we want to alter about ourselves, if we suddenly knew without a shadow of doubt that Jesus was coming back to earth tomorrow? (LET’S CLOSE OUR EYES AND ASK OURSELVES)

· Would we be eager and excited to see him, with our lives in order, or would we be terrified, because we know we're NOT ready.

  • Are there are unresolved issues in our lives? Any reconciliations that never happened?

  • Any arguments where we 'lost it' and never took time to apologise?

  • Any sick friends who need our attention and prayers

  • Any lonely or lost souls we've overlooked?

  • Are there things we so much wanted to accomplish for God and we never did. Is there a ‘calling’ we've put on hold??

  • Any hungry mouths we didn’t reach out to satisfy?

  • Has anything pushed out the things of God? Has anything robbed us of our unique giftedness?

Are we ‘OUT OF SERVICE’ like that bus? IS EVERY PLANE IN ACTION, (like our planes in Battle of Britain)

Do these represent the OIL of which Jesus speaks

What does all this say about the kind of bridesmaids we are or the kind of bridesmaids we’ve become?

WHAT COULD WE POSSIBLY DO TO MAKE JESUS, THE BRIDEGROOM, SMILE?

Drama 2

Wake up sleeper , rise from the dead

Narrator: I want to introduce you someone known as ‘Brave New World’ robot trooper WALL-E 2:

(enter robot, wearing a robot mask, who bleeps and squeaks at appropriate times throughout the drama. He enters and fixes his eyes straight ahead at an ‘invisible’ screen)

He looks alive and very real to me, but I haven’t seen him eat anything, which makes me wonder if he is indeed human?

He does love 24 hour non-stop TV. and he is often spoilt for choice at what’s on offer; indeed he seems hypnotized by the endless, scrolling of channel listings and broadcasts. (his head goes up and down)

He never misses his favourite soaps. He is highly intelligent and can tell you the names of every character in all of them; and every plot for the last forty years. (nods his heads)

He is sadly desensitized as far as emotions go, because he has viewed so much violence in the war films he loves so much, and by playing power games on his 3D computer, not forgetting the violence in the soaps.

Now he never ever flinches at the sight of blood and gore.

In fact it is extremely difficult for him to distinguish what is good and what is bad; what is right and what is wrong.

He believes anything goes!

He understands perfectly what kind of shape he needs to be to be acceptable in this world. He realizes his need for super-model slimness! (poses and shows off his slim figure)The media has forced its ideals of beauty down his throat so that now he has been ultimately “brainwashed” into accepting unreasonable standards as reasonable.

He is utterly fascinated by reality viewing, high prize talent competitions and red carpet events.

He happily tunes into everyone’s else’s, utterly absorbs celebrity magazines, relishes everyone else’s lives . . . but his own.

He never shops at all; it is all done for him on the net and posted to his home, his special occasion cards all travel faster and more conveniently by email.

He laps up all mesmerizing jingles which top advertising affords him. He totally believes by now he is worth it! But worth what, we don’t know! (lifts robot mask, peels back a Cadbury’s chocolate flake, and eats it longingly)

He is constantly flooded with information which tells him of the justification in paying the highest sums for the transfer of top football players, when there are so many poor people in the world.

The 24 hour news channels have informed him as to who his enemies are and how it may be necessary to exterminate them.

This constant flood of visual and audio information about things he loves, blurs the line between cognition (i.e. knowledge and understanding) and hypnosis; between morality and immorality. What he loves will ruin him. By inflicting too much pleasure He will self-destruct.

In fact he does have a self destruct button, (he looks around behind him, trying to see it) but will never get to use it, because he is right on course and heading that way right now.

Is he just a machine or is he human? How can we tell?

Is he breathing? (robotic breathing movement)

Can he move? Only just. He’s been sat in the chair for so long! (He slumps tiredly)

Can he dance? (he dances feebly)

Can he sing? (he sings feebly)

Can he think for himself? Well there’s a question! (looks at the Narrator briefly, then back to his invisible screen)

Sadly I don’t think we will ever find out.

So is he awake or is he asleep?

And how will he ever cope if the mighty power fails,

or if he is called to account by the Great Controller of all time?

(Exit robot in a daze)

This drama was inspired by reading a comment on our ‘Brave New World’ by Bishop Tom Wright.

Notes from the Net (source unknown):

Being ready for Christ’s return ultimately involves one major thing which manifests itself in several areas of our life. If we would be ready for Christ’s return, we must be born again through saving faith in Jesus Christ…His death, burial and literal resurrection from the dead (John 3:16; 14:6; Romans 10:9 and 10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:1-10). Saving faith in Jesus Christ will manifest itself in every aspect of our lives. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) will begin to show. A desire for greater holiness and less sin will be apparent. And a consistent looking for His coming will mark our lives. One of the best passages articulating what saving grace and faith looks like in a believer’s life is Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."