Our scripture reading this morning in the midst of this very busy hurricane season comes to us from the Gospel according to St Matthew:
Now learn a parable of the fig tree. When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matthew 25:32-44
Many years ago, while a schoolboy in short pants at the government high school, I joined the Boy Scout movement. Indeed, I was a patrol leader. The captain of our troop was the late Sir Arthur Barnett, father of our recently appointed Attorney General Senator Michael Barnett.
The training was quite rigorous and challenging, requiring a knowledge of how to tie various knots, the semaphore code and survival tactics, should one get lost on an expedition, etc, the motto of the movement then, and still is, 'Be prepared!' Yes, Boy Scouts are expected to be prepared to meet any emergency that might occur in a long, adventurous journey!
Be prepared! This is a motto that is required not only of those who belong to the Boy Scout movement, but of people in every walk of life! For, no matter in what situation you may find yourself, it is essential that you should be prepared if you are to survive it. While adequate preparation is always advantageous, there can be no shadow of a doubt that at no other time of the year is it more necessary than during hurricane season.
This is precisely why, throughout this season, we are reminded, through countless announcements in the media and by those who are experienced, that we should make preparation as soon as a hurricane appears on the ocean or, to put it more pertinently, by the time warnings are issued, we should be well prepared.
We should have enough food and water, batteries and flashlights, radios and first aid equipment, to weather any hurricane. Moreover, we should have long ago, 'paid up' our insurance premiums on all our property. And we must be prepared to move to a hurricane shelter if our home is not strong! Despite these exhortations, there are always those among us who are not prepared. This is not good! We should, indeed make every effort to 'be prepared!'
Now, the need for preparation at the spiritual level is the burden of our Scripture reading this morning. In it, Jesus warned His disciples to live in such a manner that they would be prepared spiritually to receive Him during the last days. This warning is still relevant. It is a clarion call to us to live day by day, devoting ourselves to prayer, Bible study and acts of charity so that whenever the Lord calls us, we should be ready to meet our Maker. The sudden passing of several of our prominent citizens recently certainly reminds us all of the great necessity of being prepared spiritually at all times.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED
My dear reader, the need or preparation is always with us! So, be prepared for the possibility of a tropical storm coming our way. Yes! Make sure that you have adequate supplies, that all your possessions are insured, and that your home is battened down/up during this busy hurricane season! Be prepared for any emergency that may occur in carrying out your professional responsibilities. Be prepared to help others in need, especially those who have suffered as a result of the ravages of hurricanes.
- Rev Dr J Emmette Weir is president emeritus of the Conference of the Methodist Church in The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.
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