Being Present

Being Present
Matthew 25:7-12: “Then all the bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The bridesmaids who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
I don’t know if you saw or heard the news recently about the study showing that watching Sesame Street has benefits similar to going to pre-school. When I first heard this, I thought, Forget that! The interaction and social learning in a preschool will never be replaced by a television program. When I actually tool time to read the article about the study, the authors asked the same question: Do kids need preschool if a TV show works just as well?
Yes, they said, and so did the “Sesame Street” educational team. Head Start, the authors woite, was designed to provide more than an academic boost: It delivers family support, medical and dental services, and development of emotional skills that help kids in social settings that they can’t get sitting in front of the television.
However, the authors see their study as a clear lesson in the value of a (very cheap) mass-media complement to preschool.
I’m glad that the authors of the study recognized the importance of face to face interaction for all of us, just not for preschoolers.
The local writers group I belong to, Write by the Rails, was started by four people in the summer of 2011, but I became aware of it through Facebook, and it was four months before I met any of the members face to face. It was a strange feeling not knowing them personally because as we all know, someone can seem quite right in the media, but when we meet them personally it can be a different story enitrely. Fortunately, the members of my group were more or less as advertised, and are now some of my favorite people. That goes to show something— but I don’t know what.
The spiritual implication of this story is this: to be a part of the Kingdom we can’t call it in. We have to put some face time into our walk and witness. When the bridesmaids weren’t present for the start of the banquet, they lost out, not only on some good food, but also the chance for a relationship with the bridegroom.
I pray that each of us may be fully present in the Kingdom for ourselves and also for any others who just might miss the banquet. And may this be so for each of us.

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