Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Lord's Prayer (A Lenten Meditation - Part Two)

"Thy Kingdom Come."

The longing for God's Kingdom to come does not arise simply from the pain of the current kingdoms in which we live. It is not just a matter of comparison. We pray for the Kingdom to come because in that prayer is contained all the other prayers we will ever pray. Were the Kingdom to come, in fullness, our longings would be satisfied, our hopes realized.

But to pray this prayer is difficult. It pushes us to the edge of our kingdoms and bids us submit them, even now, to His. If we are not careful in this praying, we may be tempted to seek the incorporation of His Kingdom into ours. But that is not what we pray. We want His Kingdom to come - even if that means the end of our kingdoms. For, deep down and in Christ, we know that, when His Kingdom comes, we will be better off, even if our own kingdom suffers in the coming.

The desire for the spread, the expansion, of God's effective rule arises out of an awareness of what that might look like. When God's Kingdom comes, the weakest one will be as safe and regarded as the strongest. When God's Kingdom come, community will make the full expression of individuality. When God's Kingdom comes, the only tears will be of joy and of laughter. When God's Kingdom comes, the abuses of power leading to injustice will become a dim memory. When God's Kingdom comes, those who occupy positions of authority will serve in reality and not just in name.

There is some sense in which to pray for His Kingdom to come is to pray for the end of the age, for that is when it will come in full. But it is possible to pray this for our own age and our own time and our own reality. While the Kingdom may not yet come in fullness, we pray for its steady and irresistible advance. We pray for an incremental incursion into the kingdoms of darkness and despair. We pray over our own lives, our own spheres of influence, our own kingdoms, "Oh God, Your Kingdom come."

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