88 Comments

I have heard this exact story for 65 years. Today you gave me a new perspective. My mind is gratefully blown.

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OK, this one hit me like a lightning bolt, so thank you.

This is what happened in my head as I got to the last part:

Oh, crap. Who told me I wasn't ready and equipped to go with the Bridegroom to the feast?

Same voices that told me I wouldn't be able to go in to the feast because I was queer.

God never told me that. The Bridegroom never told me that. So who did?

I got a pretty good idea now that it was people who heard it from a certain snake.

I've been getting secondhand snake messages that they told me were from God.

Whoah.

Wouldn't be the first time, either.

Thank you.

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As a woman with ADD, who can never find the lamp and oil and directions to the wedding in the right day and at the same time....i have hated this parable. I have always heard it preached as a challenge to bible study and self-improvement- kind of added to the impossible proverbs 31 woman. You brought me life with this teaching! Words can’t express how grateful I am for your consistency in finding God’s grace and mercy in every parable and teaching. Thank you for sharing such wisdom. God bless you!

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Feb 27Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Oh Nadia, I am a 74 year old woman and every time I read one of your sermons my heart swells with joy and thankfulness and I want to tell the whole conservative evangelical world of the hope you uncover instead of judgment. I am so thankful for you and how much you encourage and bless me.

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I absolutely loved this piece and decided to upgrade to a paid subscription on the strength of it. What an intelligent and perceptive thinking through of the implications of a parable that has always left me uncomfortable, without ever making me uncomfortable enough to do something about it, like think it through to the source of my discomfort. Thank you for doing that for me so well and for the unlocking the wisdom it contains.

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"You don’t have to show up with everything you need." (Thank you for that.)

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Ummm. Holy. Shit.

I have literally misunderstood the truth in this parable for my entire Christian life which is over 20 years. I feel like someone just shone a light in the darkness.

All my faith journey I’ve thought that I had to be enough, to be ready, to be wise so as not to miss the bridegroom. Even as I KNEW I was saved by FAITH ALONE. I still remember the first major bible conference I went to as a young Christian - it was studying Romans and Paul’s teaching on being saved by faith alone. And yet here I am, listening to the other voices all thru my life in our churches who also taught yes faith alone but don’t forget to do all of these things on the list too or you’re not a faithful Christian and risk backsliding into oblivion. It’s like faith alone but with a healthy side of guilt/fear/shame. Yikes. All of these years I’ve been in chains and today I start to take a step to freedom in Christ. Amen.

Thank you pastor! I am gratefully corrected.

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So in other words, the “foolish” bridesmaids weren’t foolish for not being prepared enough. They were foolish because they thought they wouldn’t be allowed in the feast without lit lamps... This just gave me a lot of joy and sadness and grace I didn’t know I needed.

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Feb 27Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Dad gum. Just thank you. I've been feeling my lack for so long, all the way back to childhood, not being a proverbial "man's man" in this culture. I can make art and not much else. I listened to the young guy and girl read the scripture, and it brought it right up in my face. I was glad you were the next act to follow, because you were no act, and I knew you were gonna do something good with that scripture I've always felt like crap hearing. And boy did you! You reminded me that our need is so much a part of our humanity, a humanity that God made and said, "It's good". I guess God made us incomplete, in a sense, so we can discover our completeness in God, and each other. Damn, just thank you, so much.

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Feb 28Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

After reading this sermon today, every time a negative thought popped into my head, I also heard the words "who told you that?"

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Amen! I also think there's a TON of good news in this parable, and that it gets a bad rap. As a sober drunk who has always deeply understood both the need to hold onto every ounce of my own supply AND the lack of choice in leaving a very important appointment to refill, I sort of always assumed the good news was that both parties of bridesmaids were grouped so that nobody was left alone. For what it's worth, I have also never read this with God cast as the groom, but rather the watchman who called the bridesmaids' attention to the groom. I probably hear it this way because I have plenty of experience with both answering and ignoring the Holy Spirit's little nudges, resulting in varying degrees of joy and disappointment. But I've never once had God close the door on me, even when I arrived late and in the dark.

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Feb 28Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

THANK YOU! 🤯 I have always hated those bridesmaids, and I have always ALWAYS listened to them. I feel like the most relieved idiot right now.

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Feb 27Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Like the commenter who wrote the words I can see as I'm typing, I have heard this story for at least 60 of my years without ever thinking about it in this way. It makes so much more sense in this way and fits in with what I know of the Lord. Thank you!

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Feb 28Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Oh my! this parable and the moral of preparedness was a foundational "truth" taught often and intensly during my college and early adulthood years. I have had to work hard to walk in grace and mercy rather that judgment and shame. The hardest part has been feeling like I'm ignoring scriptures like this parable.

I so appreciate your willingness to take the hard scriptures head on and your ability to find a scritpural way of understanding that is in line with the Jesus I have come to know as kind, merciful, and forgiving.

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Feb 28Liked by Nadia Bolz-Weber

God said today is the day you really need Nadia…listen to her sermon. Thank you Lord for the journey and my smile and not my worried look. Thank you so very much Nadia.

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This, and the glimmer of wisdom we’ve gained on our continuing journey of faith. Since we all now know that the millions of bibles “approved” for our reading by the men in power in the 5th century, I truly believe that I would’ve heard your voice among the 5,000+, Nadia, on the Mount of the Beatitudes, waiting for a piece of fish or loaf, or whatever we may - or may not - have packed for our journey to hear this inspiring preacher. And, this. Come as you are! We’re all here together.

YES!

“NOTHING is like God’s favorite raw material to work with.  Perhaps God looks upon that which we dismiss as “nothing” “Insignificant” “worthless” and says “Ha!  Now THAT I can do something with”. 

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