The Nicene Creed (one of the statements of belief that cross all Christian denominations) is as follows (maybe even read it aloud):
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
In the Church of the Nazarene, we don’t say this creed much. Which really is too bad. It is the basics of the universal Christian faith.
In the light of today’s Scripture, it is “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end” that is our focus.
Today’s Scripture is a warning to be ready for the return of Jesus. We lose a lot of this story because so much of it is cultural. The bridesmaids are to escort the bride (and essentially the groom) to the groom’s home for the marriage ceremony.
There would be dancing and singing along the way. Sleeping was wise. However, part of the situation is that there was often last-minute negotiations between the families of the bride and groom.
So, the announcement of “the groom comes” could be done, and then something else would come up, and the whole thing would begin again. The reality was that “the groom comes” could be said many times without a groom actually coming.
The coming of Christ has been that way for 2000 years. “He’s coming…oh, wait…He’s coming…oh, wait…” That cycle has been repeated for generations. Many of us recall multiple times in our lives when people have been convinced that Jesus was coming back.
We are the bridesmaids. We are the bride (the church). It’s weird, I know. We are both bridesmaids and bride and yet still ourselves.
Christmas wasn’t that long ago. Part of the story is the glory of Heaven that shined down and declared the birth of the Savior. Epiphany (less than 2 weeks ago, and still the church season) is about a star that led unbelievers to venerate the new King.
Whether a thief in the night, a baby in a manger, a choir from Heaven, somehow Christ will come in glory. We are called to be prepared.
Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again. May we be continually preparing for his return. Amen.