There were two sisters, living in a small village somewhere on earth. One summer a couple of travellers turned up and they both fell in love with the sisters. A double wedding was planned, and the village was soon buzzing with the news. The two couples spent an idyllic summer together, before the travellers had to return to their home town to settle matters there. They promised to return before long for the double wedding. At first the sisters went out to the edge of the village each evening, scanning the horizon to see if there was any sign of the travellers returning. But as time went by the excitement faded and the older sister grew distracted by other things in life. It wasn’t long before she was spending time with some of the local guys, having put her marriage prep on a to-do list. The days ticked by and the summer became a distant memory, so much so that others in the village began to question whether the men were really coming back. Others even went as far as to suggest the whole experience had been little more than a dream. The younger sister was also tempted to give up waiting, but she dug out the love notes and the presents her husband-to-be had given to her the previous summer. These kept the fire burning in her heart. Kept her focused on the promise he had made to return. As more time went by the older sister lost her marriage prep to-do list under a large pile of other plans she was now making. But the younger sister fought off the temptations and continued to hold on to her hope. And in spite of the doubts and questions thrown at her by other villagers, she was sure that one day her bridegroom would reappear, back from his travels, and the celebrations would surely begin. The thought of this kept her going on tough days, inspiring her to reach out to others, giving her purpose and meaning. Giving her strength when life’s traps ambushed her. And some evenings, as she and her sister collected water from the well outside the village, the younger sister would take regular glances over her older sister’s shoulder, just to make sure her man wasn’t out there on the road and on his way back to her. But her sister, she was a little busy with the bucket and her thoughts about what she was going to do tonight, tomorrow and the day after that.
Matthew 25 v 1-13, Revelation 21 v 1-2
(Inspired by a talk at Trinity Barnstaple, by Peter Nott)