Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer – “Thy Kingdom Come”

July 7, 2010 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

What does this mean? In fact, God’s kingdom comes on its own without our prayer, but we ask in this prayer that it may also come to us. How does this come about? Whenever our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that through his grace we believe his Holy Word and live godly lives here in time and hereafter in eternity. – Luther, Small Catechism

Oil fouls the Gulf of Mexico, destroying wildlife and ruining livelihoods. Wars and conflicts continue with no end in sight. Society, culture, and church are divided about ethics, morality, and who is to blame. There are some who have too much and others who have not enough. The way forward is unclear and the subject of more bitter debate. It would seem the kingdom of God is far away.

And yet, Jesus says that the kingdom of God has come with his proclamation (Matt. 12:28), and says to the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed…for in fact the kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:20-21).

How do we deal with these seemingly opposing ideas? Some Christians focus on the coming of Christ in glory to rid the world of evil. This is undoubtedly the great Christian hope. In one of my favorite Eucharistic prayers, I lead the congregation in praying, “We cry out for the resurrection of our lives, when Christ will come in beauty and power to share with us the great and promised feast.” To which the congregation responds, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

But while we look forward to the day when God “wipes every tear from our eyes,” we are not without his presence in the world today. We have the Word, by which he changes lives. We have the Sacraments, in which he gives us tangible signs of his promises. Christ’s Word and Sacrament are the means by which God the Holy Spirit creates the Church, a community of believers, not yet perfectly holy, but being made holy. In the midst of the world, God’s kingdom has come and is coming!

In Jesus Christ, God’s promised kingdom was inaugurated on earth. Not all recognize the kingdom. But by grace, we have been brought into the Church, the community which acknowledges the kingdom of God. When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we:
– thank God the Father that in his Son, Jesus, his kingdom has come
– praise God that by the Spirit the kingdom is proclaimed in the Church
– confess to God that we have tried to rule our own lives and not trusted his rule
– ask God to help us recognize his rule in us and to increase it, and to reveal the kingdom to all

Is the kingdom of God far away? If we look only at the chaos of the world, at the turmoil of our lives, we would have to say “yes.” But in the resurrection of Christ, we have God’s testimony that even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, God rules. We ask that his rule may become more and more visible in our lives and in the life of the world – “on earth as it is in heaven.” -Pastor Frontz

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