Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday in Pentecost, Proper 10: All good girls go to heaven (NOT!)

Opening Sentence
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1

Collect of the Day
O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and may also have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 25

Lessons: Joshua 2:1-14Romans 11:1-12Matthew 25:1-13 

If salvation was all about being virtuous, Rahab would never have been a part of the story. Her life as a prostitute hardly qualified her for any special favors from the Israelites who were, after all, God's chosen people who were planning to take possession of the land God had promised to them. For reasons known only to God, however, this not so virtuous woman became a major player in the grand narrative of salvation. Not only did she ask for and receive a promise of protection for her and her family from the Israelite spies, but the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 also lists her as the mother of Boaz, the husband of Ruth and great grandfather of King David. From the very beginning, so it seems, the "grafting in" of the Gentiles (to use Paul's term) had been part of God's plan.

Virtue, after all, does not always bring with it wisdom, as the parable of the ten virgins illustrates. All ten of them were pure and virtuous women. They were going on one journey, but had separate destinations. The five wise ones would be welcomed to the banquet when the bridegroom arrived; the five foolish ones would be left out of the celebration and treated as total strangers. What separated the wise from the foolish was simply the fact that the wise had been ready and the foolish had not.

Contrary to popular belief, all good girls (and boys) do not go to heaven. Salvation is not dependent upon anything we can do or be. The most virtuous among us will find themselves on the outside looking in because they were not ready when the moment of decision arrived. Conversely, some worse than Rahab will feast at the banquet table because they turned and believed in the promises of God.


Jesus Calls Us O'er the Tumult