Thy Kingdom Come
Ask any American if they would like a king and the answer you will probably receive is a resounding “No!” We are an independent people. We are leery of our government. We do not like people telling us what to do. We bring all this with us when we become a Christian. Becoming a Christian means we are citizens of God’s kingdom and Jesus is our King. Praying The Lord’s Prayer each day reminds us of where our allegiance lies.
When we pray “your kingdom come” we are praying for something specific to happen here on earth. We live between two advents. The kingdom is now, but not yet. This can be confusing to some Christians. The kingdom is both real and present now, but it has yet to reach its full culmination. We anticipate the coming of Jesus and the marriage of heaven and earth.
“Your reign come”
“Kingdom” is the word that most of us are familiar with. We know it from the Lord’s Prayer, but we also know it from history. Kingdom is a perfectly fine word, but we sometimes associate it with something physical. When we think of kingdom we may think of borders. Rule and reign are two words that can also be used that we do not often associate with borders.
Thayer says “come” can be used metaphorically to mean “come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence.” When we pray “your kingdom come” we are praying for something to happen.
Psalm 93:1-2 – God is king because he has established the earth. His kingdom is from of old but is continually being revealed to us.
Psalm 99 – God is king over everyone. What kind of king is he? He is just (vs. 4). He is holy (vs. 5). He has given us a history of his deeds (vs. 6-7). He is forgiving (vs. 8).
Matt. 4:23 – The kingdom here is associated with the healing of the sick and helping others. The kingdom is also good news that can be proclaimed. Immediately following this statement is the Sermon on the Mount which also references the kingdom (5:3, 10) and is where the Lord’s Prayer is found (6:9-13). This sermon is something Christians need to be familiar with because of its importance in the kingdom. If we ever wonder how we are to live out “your kingdom come” we could do no better than study and practice what we find in the Sermon on the Mount.
Hebrews 12:28 – The kingdom we belong to is stronger and mightier than any earthly kingdom. It can never be destroyed. We must give God our full allegiance and trust in his kingdom.
As the people of God we have been called to work towards God’s reign coming on earth as it is in heaven. We partner with God through prayer and good works so God’s reign might be acknowledged by more people. We fight against the “principalities and powers” that make war against the kingdom of God. We work to alleviate sickness, poverty, injustice, racism, blasphemy, and other things that are enemies of the kingdom of God.
“We live between Advent and Advent; between the first great Advent, the coming of the Son into the world, and the second Advent, when he shall come again in power and glory to judge the living and the dead. That’s why Advent is sometimes quite confusing, preparing for the birth of Jesus and at the same time preparing for the time when God makes all things new, when the whole cosmos has its exodus from slavery. That apparent confusion, that overlap of the first and second Advents, is actually what Christianity is all about: celebrating the decisive victory of God, in Jesus Christ, over Pharaoh and the Red Sea, over sin and death – and looking for, and working for, and longing for, and praying for, the full implementation of that decisive victory. Every Eucharist catches exactly this tension. ‘As often as you break this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim, you announce, the death of the Lord – until he comes’ (1 Cor. 11:26). We come to celebrate God’s kingdom now, and to pray for it soon.” N.T. Wright