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The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost A

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost A

This parable is full of distracting details.  It’s similar to those word problems given in Algebra class.  Only in determining the important details does one grasp the problem’s resolution.  The distracting details include:  the number of virgins; the division between those with extra oil and those with none; the lack of charity exhibited by those with extra oil; the buying in the marketplace; and so forth.  The one detail that matters is that some were present when the bridegroom came, and some were absent.  Those present amounted to those prepared and ready to enter in with the bridegroom.  They were seized by the moment.  Those who weren’t present amounted to those who were left behind because they could not seize the moment.  The bridegroom takes into the marriage feast all those waiting for him.  The lamps and their oil do not appear to be criteria for admission.  The only readiness is the readiness of presence—that is, being there to welcome the bridegroom and to follow him into the marriage feast.  By telling this parable Jesus admonishes his hearers to stand fast… to stand firm… to stand in eager expectation of his imminent return… and not be distracted by the non-essentials.

Prayers from one who is easily distracted…

Heavenly Father, you have set my salvation before me as Jesus and Jesus only.  Grant that the vision of my eyes corresponds to the hearing of my ears so that both are filled with Jesus Christ, him alone, and him crucified.  Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have set my salvation before me as Jesus and Jesus only.  As both my hearing and sight are filled by Jesus Christ, the Word of God, grant that his presence crowd out the presence of every distraction.  Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have set my salvation before me as Jesus and Jesus only.  When distraction no longer troubles me, grant to me the joy of keeping Jesus the one and only thing in this sin-broken world of nothings.  Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have set my salvation before me as Jesus and Jesus only.   While Jesus fills my ears and my eyes, grant to me the presence of my neighbors making known their needs that I may be useful in the fulfilling of them.  Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have set my salvation before me as Jesus and Jesus only.  Grant to my neighbors such a hearing of the Word of God that they come to know my needs and then are useful to me in the fulfilling of them.  Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have set my salvation before me as Jesus and Jesus only.  Grant to the Institute of Lutheran Theology such a hearing of the Word of God that it cannot help but speak that Word in its preaching and teaching.  Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have set my salvation before me as Jesus and Jesus only.  Bring me to that day when both my hearing and seeing in faith will end for Jesus has come in all his glory and my glory too will be evident.  Lord in your mercy, hear my prayer.

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