So in following up from Friday's post, here is my other annoying mis-assumption. As I think about the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-30), I can only think of hearing it interpreted as, "You better be ready for the Second Coming, or you'll go to Hell." Pretty scary. So if I fall asleep or have a bad day, and Christ returns, then I'm screwed.
I can see this interpretation. If the passage stands on its own. I read it a little over a week ago during the Advent season in my Mosaic Bible. The theme of the week was Preparation. Such a theme makes sense in the week leading up to Christmas. And this passage does address being prepared for Christ.
However, what does "being prepared for Christ" actually mean? I usually have heard it in terms of having right belief (see my post from last Thursday regarding that mis-assumption, too). However, taking the parable in context, particularly paying attention to the following parable, may lead to a different interpretation. The following parable is that of the Three Servants (AKA the Parable of the Talents).
Both parables begin with Jesus stating, "the Kingdom of Heaven will be like" or "the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by." Sure, that can mean post-death, but there's a lot of evidence that the Kingdom of Heaven is also present on earth right now. Think of the Lord's Prayer: "Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."
I think a more appropriate interpretation of these two parables is actually more works-based than faith-based: Christ is calling us to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth now, not to simply wait for him to return and to change it. We won't do a perfect job, but we need to do what we can. That's where the beauty of faith, life, and the Kingdom is.
What say you?