The Ten Bridesmaids

November 19, 2017

Objectives: Students Will



        Greet students and make sure they know who the leaders are.

        Say, “Today we’re going to hear another parable of Jesus. Parables are short stories about people and situations that most people could relate to and that were meant to explain to people what the reign of God was like. Today’s parable is about a wedding.



Say, “How many of you have been to a wedding? Then you’ll know that not everybody knows everyone else at a wedding. The reception usually has name tags on the tables, so that people who don’t know each other can get acquainted.”

        Hand out the name tags and markers. Give everyone 2-3 minutes to design a name tag for THE PERSON TO THEIR LEFT using whatever design flourish they like.

Call time and have everyone put on the name tag that was just designed for them.



        Divide the group into groups of four like this: line students up by height. Find the middle of the line and “fold” it in half, so that the tallest student is now face-to-face with the shortest. Then go down the double line, grouping two pairs at a time to make groups of four. Instruct students to find a spot in the room to sit together, where they will not be distracted by another team. Finally, each person in the team claims a number 1-4.

        Hand out the student journals.

        Explain that they are all now teams of wedding party planners with the following responsibilities:

        Let the students work on their respective responsibilities for 3-4 minutes, and then encourage them to share their ideas with one another for another 3-4 minutes. Encourage feedback that is respectful and constructive.

        Instruct the teams to select a wedding planner from their team who will note down all the members’ ideas. After about five minutes of compiling all their ideas, go around the room and have each team present their wedding celebration.

        Process what the groups presented. Were there some common themes? Did students find this challenging, or did it come naturally to some of them?


Transition to the parable for the day: “A wedding is a party. It’s a celebration. When Jesus wanted to tell people what the reign of God was like, he used stories called parables, and more than one of Jesus’ parables was about a wedding. We’re going to experience one of those parables today.

“But first let’s do a Mad Lib.

Each leader should take a small group of students to a designated part of the room. Go through the Mad Lib by asking for examples of the parts of speech in brackets on the lines. When you’re all done, read it back to the group. Take five minutes for this. Then invite the groups to read their Mad Libs to the large gathering. Note for leaders: in order to duplicate the repetition of characters and their core characteristics like the parable does, “Plural Noun(a),” “Adjective(a),” and “Adjective(b)” should be supplied once and then filled in the same every subsequent time they’re called for.

After every group has read their Mad Lib and the group has had a good laugh, hand out the sheet containing the actual parable from Matthew 25. Read it as a group, inviting students to read a sentence or two at a time.

Explain that this parable is an allegory. Ask if anyone knows what allegory means. What you’re going for, essentially, is a story where the elements are symbolic, where they stand in for something. Most parables are allegories. Continue:

Most people who have heard this parable over the years agree that the wedding banquet is a symbol for the reign of God, the dimension of life where God’s will is actually done. Then ask:

What could all those other things symbolize, then?

The wise ones wouldn’t share with the foolish ones. What’s up with that?

Who or what is the Bridegroom a symbol for?

Who or what are the Bridesmaids a symbol for?

What does the wisdom and foolishness of the Bridesmaids stand for?

What is the oil supposed to be?

LOOK                        IDENTIFYING DISTRACTIONS        

Say, “Jesus tells the people hearing this parable to ‘keep alert’ for the reign of God. He says, ‘You don’t know the day or the hour.’ What do you think of when you hear the word ‘alert?’ What do you think it means?”

        Allow for a few responses.

Continue, “ defines alert as ‘fully aware and attentive.’ How many of you feel ‘fully aware and attentive’ right now?

        “When do you feel most aware and most attentive? Is it at school? Playing a sport? Playing video games? What is the activity you do that makes you feel most alert, most awake and attentive?

        Have students turn to their journals, and give them 3-5 minutes to make a list of the times in their day or their week when they feel the most alert (awake and attentive). Tell them to take note of what they’re doing in those times, where they are, who they’re with, the time of day, what it feels like, etc.

        After 3-5 minutes have students and leaders share their lists with the same small groups they were in for the Mad Lib.

        Give them a few minutes to discuss their lists, then continue: “There are a lot of things to keep us from being alert, though, aren’t there? Jesus tells us to be aware and attentive for God’s will to be done in the world around us, but that’s not exactly easy. We have lots of distractions and worries that keep us from being alert.

        Have students turn to their journals, and give them 3-5 minutes to make a list of the things that keep them from being attentive. Do the same thing as before with the small groups.

        After the small groups have shared the lists of distractions, ask if anyone heard any common distractions from the people in their group. Ask, “Was there anything that surprised you?”


        On their own, invite students to write down in their journal at least one distraction they identified that they are going to try to eliminate in the coming week (they can pick as many as they like?). Just try to go without it (of course, if it’s something like homework or food, be sensible :) Explain that this will be a one week experiment in being more attentive to the world around them, to see if they notice anything different.

        Give students just a couple of minutes to write, then close with prayer:

        “God, you are in the world, doing the things you want to do. Make us attentive--alert and ready--for your will to be done in our life, so that we may grow in faith and hope and love. Amen.


Matthew 25:1-13

The kingdom of ________________will be like ten ___________________

                      Fictional Place                             Adjective

_____________who took their ____________ and went out to meet the _______________

Plural Noun(a)                             Plural Noun                                Noun

Now five of them were ___________, and the other five were ________________. The

                            Adjective(a)                                        Adjective(b)

_____________ones took their ____________but didn’t bring ____________for them. But the

Adjective(a)                            Plural Noun                                 A Type of Fuel

__________________ones took their ____________and also brought containers of _________

Adjective(b)                                Plural Noun                                            Plural Noun

“When the ____________was late in coming, they all became ___________and went to

                        Noun                                                            Adjective

______________. But at midnight there was a cry, ____________, the ____________! Come

Fictional Place                                                Exclamation                Noun

out to ___________him.’  “Then all those _____________got up and _________________their

          Verb                                        Plural Noun(a)                        Past Tense Verb

______________.  But the foolish _____________said to the ____________ones, ‘Give us

Plural Noun                                 Plural Noun(a)                   Adjective(b)

some of your ___________, because our __________________have ________________.’

                      Type of Fuel                         Plural School Supplies                Past Tense Verb

“But the wise ___________replied, ‘No, because if we __________with you, there won’t

                    Plural Noun (a)                                        Verb

be enough for our _____________and yours. We have a better idea. You go to those who

                             Plural Noun

___________  ______________ and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were gone to

Verb                  Type of cereal

_____________ ______________ the _________________ ________________. Those who

Verb                    Genre of Music           Position of Authority    Past Tense Verb

were ____________went with _______into the _______________. Then the door was shut.

         Adjective                         Pronoun           Type of Celebration  

“Later the other ____________came and said, ‘Lord, lord, _____________the ________for us.’

                Plural Noun(a)                                        Imperative Verb        Noun

 “But _______replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t ___________you.’

         Pronoun                                                Verb

Therefore, keep ___________, because you don’t know the _________or the _____________

                          Adjective                                        Unit of Time          Unit of Time

Matthew 25, The Parable of The Bridesmaids

Jesus said:

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten young bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Now five of them were wise, and the other five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps but didn’t bring oil for them. But the wise ones took their lamps and also brought containers of oil.

“When the groom was late in coming, they all became drowsy and went to sleep. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the groom! Come out to meet him.’

“Then all those bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. But the foolish bridesmaids said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps have gone out.’

“But the wise bridesmaids replied, ‘No, because if we share with you, there won’t be enough for our lamps and yours. We have a better idea. You go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were gone to buy oil, the groom came. Those who were ready went with him into the wedding. Then the door was shut.

“Later the other bridesmaids came and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us.’

“But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

“Therefore, keep alert, because you don’t know the day or the hour.