Anglican Morning Devotion for 17 August 2021 Anno Domini
The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” Matthew 24:5-6
The parable of the Ten Virgins and Lamps may be compared to a story taken from 1001 Nights:
In our parable, the Bridegroom is Christ, and He has prepared a great Marriage Supper for His Friends (you and me).
It illustrates the difference between a virtuosity based on works and one based on Grace. Ten Virgins (good moral young ladies). Five were virtuous in their physical being (works) and five were virtuous in body and soul. The parable speaks to this matter,–If there be true faith in the heart, there will be active obedience in the life:.
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Lamps represent the love and direction they seek in Christ, their Bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
The Ten were not all of the same heart. How were they different?
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
The Cause is Christ! When the Cause becomes anything else besides Christ, the prize is lost.
Too many are attending church and calling themselves Christian out of a sense of Duty and not a Love for Christ.
Duty is a result of that Love, not the Cause (Christ).
The old lamps of the Gospel are often discarded for the new ones of apostasy. These new lamps are shiny and bright, but the old are dignified by wear and time. The Old is perhaps not so pretty to look upon, but are filled with the Light of the Holy Spirit. The new ones are bright and pretty on the outside, but are filled with darkness.
Here is an illustration from a story my mother used to tell me from Arabian Nights.
Aladdin’s Lamp is a fantasy story that contains much true of genuine merit. From Arabian nights. The setting is a western city in China. The story is actually an addition to 1001 Nights added by Antoine Galland.
Aladdin has found a Lamp that contains great power to the owner. In safeguarding the Lamp, he leaves it in the care of his betrothed, the Princess. She knows not the quality of the Lamp. So, a magician who has coveted gaining the Lamp for himself goes about the streets offering to trade new lamps for Old.
This is happening today in the publication of so-called Bibles that are new and shiny, but dark inside their covers.
“New Lamps for Old,” cries the magician. If we are wise, we will keep the Old Lights and reject the new false lights.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
The foolish virgins only wanted the appearance of having Light, the Wise Virgins wanted the Light itself. Notice that all slept which is normal. We cannot remain vigilant at all hours.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
At Midnight – this has come to be known as the Midnight Cry!
It is based on the Gospel account of the return of Christ:
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Cor 15:52
There were five foolish virgins. Though they were foolish, they were still morally pure. But they did not love the Bride-groom as much as the other five virgins. They did not have oil (Spirit) for their Lamps, and they were too late in getting it. It was not the age or quality of the lamps that made them valuable – it was the OIL (Spirit of Love)!