June 2023

'Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit.  Luke 12.35 (NRSV) 

This verse is a call to be ready but not to act; to wait for the Lord, however late His coming and whatever His plans may be.  Whilst it can be harder to wait than to seize control, silent prayer offers us a way to ‘be’, rather than to ‘do’. 


The dominant metaphor of Luke 12: 35-49 is of a group of servants waiting for their master’s return from a wedding, allusive of the Parable of the Ten Virgins and their oil (Matthew 25: 1-13).  Both of these stories about readiness and watchfulness state that God comes in his own good time.  Our job is always simpler than His.  We have only to remain in faith, in a state of unknowing.  He will do the rest.   


Both passages are, vitally, a vision of community.  Matthew’s virgins and Luke’s serving men are not alone as they wait for the Lord; they are together.  Luke does not propose that we all ‘have’ to wait well to deserve Christ’s mercy, but rather that no one who sees as God sees will waste time together on temporary highs, here drunkenness.  No one will want to violate the world, themselves or others if they look with heaven’s eyes.  No one will want to pull apart from a group gathered in love.     


Luke also argues that faith is a two-way exchange between us and God.  The servants need to wait, together, for the master, but the master also desires someone to whom He can return, whom he can then serve.  Luke abounds in domestic reference.  His spatial metaphor suggests that home does not consist of bricks and mortar but of love exchanged.  It can be uncomfortable to be loved and served, particularly by those better than we are.  Yet to let our barriers down and let God love us just as we are, means we channel His love into the world.  In words attributed to Teresa of Ávila: ‘Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks with compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which He walks … the hands through which He blesses’. 


May it be so for you, and me, as we sit together in prayer and wait upon the Lord.