The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree
Published on February 10, 2021
Why are the virgins trimming their wicks? This question arose as we were listening to Johnny Cash’s hauntingly beautiful song, “When the Man Comes Around.” It was not long ago that we discussed how this song is based on the biblical book of Revelation. My friend was astonished to find out it was on my gospel music playlist. With her newfound interest in lyrics and their meanings through her poetry class, this song became even more intriguing.
Interestingly enough, my encounter with the song happened when I received a meme of a cat riding a dog with the caption, “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the rider’s name was death.” It was undeniably amusing, prompting a good laugh. Naturally, I shared it on social media, along with a link to Cash’s song, and began playing it because, well, who can resist?
“Do you remember Matthew 25?” I asked, pulling my Bible from the shelf. Intrigued, she nodded, her impeccable memory already reciting the Parable of the Ten Virgins. The words flowed effortlessly as I read them aloud:
“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, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, 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 remember that one,” she said thoughtfully, “but I don’t know what it means.”
And so, we delved into a conversation about the second coming of Jesus. Inspired by a Johnny Cash song, we discussed the importance of Christians always being ready for Christ’s return since we cannot predict when it will occur.
Being a Christian is more than mere words; it is a way of life. It means actively studying the Word of God, praying without ceasing, and avoiding being the one the Lord says, “I never knew you.” Our relationship with Jesus should surpass mere religiosity, surpass the act of attending church on Sundays, and surpass a series of rituals. Identifying as a Christian means we are followers of Christ, and we should not take such a claim lightly. As Cash eloquently puts it, referring to a story in the book of Luke, “one day, the father hen will call his chickens home.” And we want to be counted among those chickens.
When the man comes around
The whirlwind is in the thorn tree
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks
The song lyrics paint a vivid picture of the impending return of Christ. The lyrics, coupled with the powerful imagery, evoke a sense of awe and urgency. The world will witness trumpets sounding, pipers playing, and millions of angels singing as multitudes march to the rhythmic beats of a mighty kettledrum. Among the chaos, voices will call and cry, while some are born and others pass away. The alpha and omega’s kingdom will emerge, and the whirlwind will be in the thorn tree. The virgins, representing all of humanity, will diligently prepare themselves for the coming event. And it will be challenging for anyone to resist or oppose the divine calling.
The lyrics caution that injustice will persist for those who choose to remain unjust. Similarly, those who uphold righteousness will continue on their righteous path. The song emphasizes the importance of personal choices and the consequences they bring. The words echo the timeless wisdom written down long ago.
In a world filled with uncertainty, it is essential to embrace the principles of Experience (User Experience), Expertise (expertise), Authoritativeness (authority), and Trustworthiness (reliability), especially in matters concerning the sanctity of life. Our spiritual journey should not be taken lightly, for it is a sacred endeavor that shapes our character and molds our souls.
And when the man comes around, may we be ready to welcome him with open hearts and souls, casting our golden crowns at his feet.
Note: The images used in this article are from the original post.