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Who's missing? ...the bride and bridegroom!

A Wedding Story

Who's missing at the wedding earlier in the day?
Why, probably everybody.
The bride and the bridegroom.
The banquet hall owner, servants, the wine stewart, the relatives, even the guests weren't there either. But they did come one by one.

10 young women were bridesmaids and they were all together and ready close by near the wedding banquet hall. They were beautifully dressed for the occasion. Oil lamps ready.

'Where's the bride?' was asked.

One in the know answered, 'She's coming soon.'

And sure enough, just as it was dusk the bride came.

'Oh, don't you look lovely in that dress,' said the first.

'Oh, doesn't your hair look majestic,' said the second.

'Oh, doesn't your perfume smell heavenly,' said the third.

'Oh, won't your shoes keep you dancing all night....,' said the fourth.

'Oh, your jewellery is dazzling!', said the fifth.

All of it was true of course and soothing to the bride.
She was getting a bit worried, as the bridegroom hadn't come yet or sent a confirming word.

The minute one bridesmaid ran out of oil, she quipped:
'What a waste of oil! The bridegroom is never going to come!'
5 of the others said, 'The bridegroom has always come before, so why shouldn't he come today?'
The woman without oil continued, 'But since I have to wait, give me some of your oil.'
The other young women said, 'Well...Instead, go to those who sell the oil. You probably have enough time.'
But the bridesmaid pouted, 'But I don't want to go by myself, especially in MY beautiful outfit!'

Soon a second one ran out of oil and said,
'Oh, no, look my lamp is ugly now and will need cleaning. And you know what, bride-wanna-be,--the bridegroom never loved you!' Everyone stopped and waited....
The same 5 replied, 'How can you say that! He was there when she fell and he picked her up and comforted her.'

The second bridesmaid just changed the subject and said,
'Really I need oil too. Look, those with extra jars that are still not opened, you can surely spare some.'
But the other young women said, 'Instead, buy some for yourselves.'

More of the women started complaining when their oil ran out in turn.
They said ugly things. 'No one is every going to marry you! You don't deserve him or to be married.
I should have married him anyway instead of you.'

And the bride wept.

The women with the reserve oil comforted her.

And when there were 5 altogether that didn't have enough oil, they again demanded:
"Give us some of your oil, our lamps are going out."

But the others replied:
" No. There may not be enough for both us and you."

Finally the 5 left to buy oil. But they had trouble. They went to the store at a very late hour.
"Open the door!" they pounded on the shop door. 'We need some oil.' Later the shopkeeper didn't think he heard a 'thank you'.

Precious time was wasted.

At midnight, the bridegroom came. There was joyous crying out by those still waiting.
"HERE IS THE BRIDEGROOM! COME OUT TO MEET HIM!"

The 5 that were still ready with oil went in to the banquet.
And the bride told the bridegroom what happened.
He was angry. He was furious that the other 5 had said such nasty comments.
And the door was shut.

Later when the 5 straglers had their "new" oil, they came.

"Sir! Sir! Open the door!"
Servants opened a window in the door.
'We can't let you in. We let some people in, but the groom asked them, why they hadn't dressed for the occasion.' When they didn't answer to his satisfaction, he threw them out!
"Please," pleaded the 5.
The servants left to ask.
First the bridegroom was busy and sent servants back to tell the women, that they were not welcome.
Soon the bridegroom himself came to the door.
"If you say things like you said, I don't know you."
"You have insulted the bride! So you are not welcome."
But since the bride knows you, she has to decide if she will forgive you herself after all!

But first you will have to ponder and you will truly have to be sorry. I WILL ask the bride.'

The bride was informed and sent word.
'I am coming soon.'

'Inside will be everyone who loves truth,' she told herself. 'Outside will be everyone who loves falsehood.
How will I discern who loves what?'

The 5 kept asking: 'When is the bride coming?"
The bride heard them and she assured them through the door:
"Yes. I am coming soon."
'Dear Bride, we have oil now. We are sorry we were not ready. We are sorry we doubted the bridegroom. You CAN have mercy on us. DO have mercy on us.'

And the bride pondered and searched their hearts.

And then the bride said to those who were now ready,
"Come!" (see: Rev. 22:17; Matthew 16:19; 18:18)
Komm! - German
Viens! - French
Pitakwihshinin! - N. Ojibwe

'It's all right now. You are forgiven.
Now....,
"Whoever is thirsty, let him or her come."
Wer durstig ist, soll kommen. - German
Que el hombre sediento se acerque. - Spanish
Laat wie dorst heeft, komen. - Dutch
Is it ever too late to say you're sorry and say healing words?'

Seek forgiveness for your sins.

"Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words; the kind that build up and provide what is needed,
so that what YOU say will do good to those who hear you."
Ephesians 4:29
Lord, what do we prepare for? when should we prepare?
What do we really say? What do we really hear?
We thank you for preparation times for good times.
Let us know what to do. Help us to build up and not to tear down.
Let us know how to comfort those that are waiting for missing people.
Let us know know what to say to those who are not waiting for missing people.
Help people be truly sorry, before it is truly too late.

Lord, help those that are waiting for a spouse. Help those that would like someone else get married. Help those who are single to be content and at peace.
Jesus, we thank you, the Creator and the Spirit for wedding joys. Thank you that you showed us that it is possible to change mediocre things into only the best.

Lord, help us prepare and be ready for the "Heavenly Wedding Banquet" with you in heaven.
Amen.