The Tale of an Oil Lamp

This story is based off of the Scripture Matthew 25:1-12 and the song Make Us Ready by Harvest Bashta.  Check out my vlog here to see the summary of the scripture and the inspiration to write this short story.

“Now as you all know, the groom is coming tonight in order to celebrate his wedding for tomorrow.” The house keeper squawked in a shrill voice. She reminded me of a bird the way she constantly fidgeted and clucked so that things were just so.

“Oh this will be so exciting don’t you think?” A fellow bridesmaid whispered to me. “The bride will look so beautiful and the groom as handsome as ever.”

“I don’t suppose you’ve ever seen the groom have you?” I ask hoping to hear a bit of detail.

“Well no, none of the bridesmaids have, but I have heard lovely things about him.” The bridesmaid’s words seem to flutter.

“Remember ladies, the groom will be coming very late some time tonight so you should prepare your lamps accordingly so you can fetch him at any time.” The bird chirps again.

“Yes madam.” All the girls answer in unison. I decide at that moment to make a special trip to the shop, and gather as much oil as necessary.

“Would you like to come with me to buy essentials?” I asked a girl and she gladly agreed. I asked a few more, and they also decided to come along, but a few scoffed and said “No”. or “Surely I have enough of my own oil.”.

So the five of us went on our merry way. The shop smelled with good fragrances and some with ones that “had to grow on you”. We all happily bought the things we came for and made our way home.

The night crept upon us quickly. At first excitement and the thrill of meeting my best friend’s soon-to-be husband kept me awake for hours, but after a while I couldn’t help but fall asleep.

My dream fluttered to and fro, from one thing to the next. Until I was suddenly awakened.

“Ladies, Ladies! The Master is coming! Come, come now go fetch him.” The head housekeeper called to us. A few of us groggily wipe our eyes as we slip on our dress and grab our lamps to great him.

As we walk through the forest the trees cast spooky shadows and make our faces look gaunt. A few of the girls drearily drag their feet as they walk, their hand holding the candle lulls back and forth, and their eyes threaten to close.

“Come on now, none of that missy.” An older bridesmaid nudges in jest. I myself begin to feel weary as we stand for an hour in wait. One hour becomes two, and then three.

“Oh no!” One of the girls exclaims. “My lamp is running out of oil.” She whimpers as she gingerly replaces the lid.

“Didn’t you bring more?” I ask in bewilderment.

“Well…no. I thought I had enough.” She sheepishly replied. She was one of the girls who refused to go to the shop earlier.

“Will you give me some of yours?” She asks pitifully. My heart aches in response. I truly want to give her some, but I wouldn’t have enough to last through the night.

“And me too!” Another girl calls.

“And me?” A third girl asks. I realize that a good majority did not bring enough to stay through the night.

“How many of you have enough oil?” I ask the group. Only five of us have enough. There are five others that didn’t prepare well enough.

“Just give us some of each of your oil and we will be able to stay.” One bridesmaid demanded. A few of her friends agreed.

“Then we will all be without a light after the oil runs out. Go to the shop now while you can and buy oil so you can make it back in time.” An older girl says. The five of us agree. The other five huff and mutter under their breathes. I feel bad, a pang of guilt edges through my body. I should’ve bought extra, or maybe urged them more to prepare.

The other five bridesmaids finally decide to leave for the shops after another half an hour of bickering, but their ever shortening wicks became more than enough reason to leave.

Another two hours go by, and I feel my eye lids becoming heavier and heavier. Sleep is my only consolation to the guilt of making those girls get their own oil.

“Look! I see someone! I think it’s the groom! He’s coming, oh don’t you see him?” One of the girl jolts up from her sitting position and brushes her dress off. I follow suit and train my eyes to the distance.

Sure enough a handsome man appears in the darkness. He has a comforting smile that makes my aching feet seem not so bad. I dust myself off and rub the sleep from my eyes.

“My lord! Come this way, we have been waiting for you!” I smile and rush to bring him a lamp.

“What a kind group you all are.” He says kindly “We haven’t even met and I’m sure you’ve been here for hours.” He takes each of us by the hand and gives them a kiss. The stories about him seem to be true. I giggle to myself at the thought.

“Shall we go then? You must be exhausted. We will enjoy the celebration even more now. However, I thought there were more of you.” The groom seemed a bit disappointed.

“A few of the girls needed more supplies, but I’m sure they will make it back in time.” One of the elders smiles. We walk back to the homestead with the sun rising at our backs. It’s a cool morning as the dew begins to evaporate.

Eventually the wedding ceremony begins, and the girls are still not back which makes me worry. Once the door is shut to the ceremony no one is allowed in or out. I hope they get here soon.

I keep counting the minutes before we start until finally the door is shut as part of the ceremony, and seals the girls outside from this momentous occasion.

The ceremony is beautiful and flawless like a dance between the bride and groom. My heart is filled with joy until I hear a berating on the sealed door.

“Let us in!” Cries one girl amid other irritated gurgles.

“How could you seal us out?” Their unnatural whimpers reach through the door. I hear some of the girls moping knowing it was their fault for their poor preparation.

“Girls, please.” The groom puts his hand on the door. “What’s done has been done. I won’t open the door for your poor planning and disregard for others’ time.” He seems genuinely sad that he has to enforce such a thing, but slowly over time the voices of the excluded girls lulls to a murmur.

A small pang of pity rests in me, but I’m also relieved to have put such preparation into my work. It was well worth it in the end.

“Let’s celebrate the love of this new union! May it last forever by the power of the Almighty God!” A guest shouts as he thrusts a chalice of wine into the air. The crowd of people answer in cheers and shouts.

So we celebrate, and enjoy the night. We celebrate love, purity, and I personally appreciate the sense of care for others’ time and preparation.




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