From the Rectory – February

The impala is by all accounts an unremarkable medium sized antelope that can be found in eastern and southern Africa. Unremarkable except for their astonishing ability to jump distances of eleven metres and to heights of more than three metres. Despite the huge leaps that they can make, impalas can be kept in any zoo enclosure with a wall that is only three feet high. As they aren’t tall enough to see what’s beyond the barrier, impalas won’t attempt to escape as they can’t see where they might land.

If any animal had a motto, the impala’s would absolutely be ‘look before you leap’.

Predicting what lies ahead is the bread and butter of fortune tellers, stock market gurus and professional gamblers. Each takes the information in front of them, whether it be the tea leaves in a cup, the pages of the Financial Times, or the cards that are on the table, and uses them to attempt to forecast what might happen next.

Although the accuracy of their predictions can be somewhat haphazard, this hasn’t stopped ‘experts’ on the future from being consulted time and time again. A little bit of foreknowledge is seen as hugely advantageous.

There is a world of difference though between seeking to divine what the weeks and years to come might hold, and being well prepared.

Jesus told a story about a group of ten bridesmaids waiting with oil lamps to welcome a bridegroom to his wedding feast. As is the way of these things, the groom is late arriving, by which time all the bridesmaids have fallen asleep. When the cry goes out ‘he has arrived’, all ten jump to their feet ready to re-light their lamps and greet the groom. Five of the girls have remembered to bring spare fuel. The other five have not, and while they are off desperately trying to find someone to sell them some oil, the door is closed, and the party is celebrated without them.

Being prepared and ready for Jesus is about putting ourselves right with God.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent this February, and in the weeks leading up to Easter we have an opportunity to remind ourselves of just what Jesus did on the cross, and how we can reconnect our lives with his.


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