Closed Out Of A Sealing

Washington D.C. Temple

TheDiscipleMD

One of the great joys of life is sharing special moments with good friends. One of those moments is the marriage of a son or daughter. As you grow older the invitations to such timeless events increase. So, over the past twenty years my wife and I have received numerous invitations from our friends to share in their joy when such events occur.  The ultimate and most sacred invitation is the request to be at the temple for the sealing of a couple. These invitations are of a more personal nature as many are invited to wedding receptions, or marriages held outside of the temple,  but there is limited seating for a temple marriage. So it is that a request to be at that sacred ceremony is of special value. I know that when my children have been sealed in the temple, we have invited only family and very close friends to be in attendance due to limited seating.

A few years ago we were invited to the sealing of a son of a very close friend. As we headed towards the temple, the traffic was uncharacteristically heavy for that time of day. As we were driving my wife was worried that we might be late. I told her that even if we were, I had never known a sealing to start on time at the temple.   She worried all the way down, but I was very calm and drove as if we had all day. Upon arriving at the temple we were surprised to find out that the sealing was indeed on time and that we needed to hurry.  We frantically raced to the sealing room while still tying to be reverent but found that the doors had already been closed. So there we both stood and later sat; alone in the hall, embarrassed to have arrived late. No one poked their head out of the door to see if we were there and it was certainly inappropriate for us to knock.  As I sat there, I keep thinking what I shoulda, woulda, coulda, done to have arrived there on time.  As I sat there my mind wandered to an old story:

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25: 1-13).

I had often read this parable but never had it sunk into my soul as it did that day. I now knew how those unprepared virgins must have felt because I certainly felt foolish sitting there in that hallway.  “Closed out”, you might say, of the wedding. And even though we meant no disrespect by arriving late; it certainly could have been taken that way by our friends. We waited until the joyous couple and our friends came out of the room to offer our congratulations, but we had missed the sacred opportunity to share in their moment of great joy.

Similarly we may not mean disrespect to the Lord when we don’t keep our lives totally in order, but the day will come when the call to come to the wedding will come, and if we are not prepared the door will be shut no matter if we are “caught” in traffic or not. All the excuses in the world will not alter the fact that the marriage happened, and we were left waiting in the hallway. Let us live our lives so that we may find our “lamps”, trimmed and ready to go when the bridegroom comes again.

 

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