From what I was able to find, Protestants and Roman Catholics don’t have a specific focus for Holy Tuesday. I guess it’s made holy by its association with Holy Monday and Holy Wednesday. I try to pull off the same thing when I go to church conferences; thankfully it’s not that difficult to find two people holier than me.
Our brothers and sisters in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, though, do have a specific focus for Holy Tuesday. They take Holy Tuesday to focus on the parable of the ten virgins. Even though many Eastern Orthodox traditions won’t celebrate Easter until May 2 this year, we can still take a look at the parable of the ten virgins.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
I’m sure this parable causes lots of problems for Sunday school teachers as inquisitive children want to know what a virgin is. I’m not in Sunday school but this parable still causes some problems for me as well.
This parable makes me think I should live my life as Heimdall, the Asgardian doorman. Heimdall was tasked with guarding the Byfrost, watching and waiting. In this parable Jesus warns that we need to keep watch because we don’t know when the bridegroom is going to return. We don’t want to be like the five virgins who were left out in the dark but does that mean we have to be like Heimdall, just watching and waiting?
Unfortunately I think a lot of Christians answer that question by saying, “Yes.” A lot of Christians seem to be more concerned with the next life than this one.
Instead of focusing on what God wants to do today, they’re too busy waiting and watching like Heimdall.
Instead of spreading God’s kingdom in the here and now, they’re too busy looking for signs of Christ’s return.
Instead of being active participants in this world, they’re waiting to cash in on their citizenship in heaven.
I want to be ready for Jesus’s return but not at the expense of what he wants me to do before he comes back. We should follow the advice of Qui-Gin Jinn who told Obi-Wan that he should be mindful of the future but not at the expense of the moment. We don’t know when Jesus is going to return and we should be ready. But what better way to prepare ourselves for Jesus’s return than by living our lives for him every day?
Heimdall is great for Asgard but Midguard (Earth) needs Christians who do more than wait and watch. Jesus is returning and, when he does, hopefully he’ll find us actively doing his work and intentionally spreading his kingdom.
How do you wait for Jesus while still doing his work?