Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is’, or ‘There it is’, because the kingdom of God is within you”.’ Luke 17:20 -21
For many, praying ‘thy kingdom come’ in the Lord’s Prayer, they are looking only to the future, maybe looking for the second coming of Christ. But Jesus was very clear on many occasions in his teaching that the kingdom of God is here now, within us. It is not a place, a location; it cannot be seen; it is wherever and whenever we allow God to enter our lives. As part of the family of Christ we are part of that kingdom here on earth. And that kingdom is not static, it is growing. In Acts 2:47: - ‘And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’. But Jesus also talked of the kingdom as a future event. In Mark 10:15: - ‘I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter in it’. The kingdom is now but not yet. We are still working towards the completion of the kingdom.
When I reflect on that I am overwhelmed by Gods generosity to us. But we have to respond to God’s invitation to be part of that kingdom now. I am as guilty as anyone else in valuing earthly possessions, in wanting my freedom, my rights, my own plans and dreams. But if we are truly part of His kingdom on earth, then these things should not be important, we should be looking towards God’s plans and dreams for us. We can’t sit on the fence looking for the best of both worlds.
In setting the scene for this year’s ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative Archbishop Justin Welby said the following: - “In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of nations and the transformation of communities.” We should pray with gratitude for the kingdom we are part of now, and also for our longing to see God’s ways in all the world. And ultimately we are looking towards the second coming when God’s work will be completed.
To finish I am going to include a suggested mediation on the part of the Lord’s Prayer from the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ website that I have found really helpful, particularly as I struggle with the strange reality in which we find ourselves.
1:Focus on God
2:Take one deep breath
3: Simply say the words ‘Thy kingdom come’
4:Pause and look around you
5:Think about the things you would like to be different
6:Look out on the world and ask that God may bless it
7:Say again ‘thy kingdom come’.
God Bless you, Kathy