Saturday, August 3, 2013

11th Sunday after Pentecost: As in Heaven so on Earth - Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done

Readings for this Sunday:  Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23; Psalm 145:10-14, Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 11:1-4 and Matthew 6:9 - 13

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Thy kingdom come... 
What would it look like if God was sitting on the throne of the world?

Because, that’s what we’re praying, when we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.

We’re not asking for
·        not a physical realm with boundaries – a static limited thing - which is what we think of when we hear ‘kingdom’
·        but that God is ruling, sitting on the throne of the world – the reign of God

What would it look like if God was sitting on the throne of the world?
·        Look at creation – ‘it was good’
·        Look at the 10 commandments – state them positively – reconciling relationship with God, description of how the community of God lives
·        The prophets – Isaiah – the feast on the mountain, rich foods, wine, no more pain no more grief, tears wiped away
·        Mary sings about this kingdom:  Luke 1:50-54  His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.  He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;  he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
·        Jesus’ own description of his mission in revealing that the kingdom of God is near- Luke 4:18-19  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

When God is on the throne of the world, everyone is loved, everyone is valuable.  The earth and all that’s in it is valued as the beautiful good creation of our Father. The lost are found, the hungry fed, the lonely friended.  There is peace and wholeness and reconciliation, justice and mercy and grace and right-living and right-relationship – all those things summed up by daily bread, forgiving and receiving forgiveness, strength to resist temptation and deliverance from evil. 

Thy will be done...
In God’s kingdom, God’s will is done:  all those things that affirm life, draw us to God, and stop sin, evil, the devil and even death from getting in the way of God’s reign:
·        By reconciling humanity to God through Jesus
·        By sending the Spirit to live in our hearts – teaching us how to live as reconciled children of God
·        And although God’s will and kingdom come about with or without our efforts…Christians have this habit of working to bring the kingdom of God:  caring for the sick during the Roman plagues, hospitals, soup kitchens, missions, quilts kits food drives, harvesting a neighbor’s field, dropping off a casserole (or a salad) participation in larger justice issues like civil rights, human rights overseas, cancer walks and crop walks, standing up for a child who is bullied. 
o   It’s what our response to God’s kingdom coming to us through Jesus, our response to God’s grace and mercy in our own lives.
o   This response is God’s will also – just as we were placed in the garden to care and tend for us, we still care and tend for the world, partnering with God, being Jesus with skin on

When we pray “God, come and sit on the throne of the world”, we also pray “God, come and sit on the throne of my heart.” And that prayer plunges us into the midst of God's kingdom coming, and God's will being done.

My internship pastor called the Lord’s Prayer, “Jesus’ mission prayer.”  When we pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” we are signing on for that mission too. 

As in heaven so in earth
This is really good news.  For God’s reign and will are not something that happen far off only in heaven, but right here, right now on earth.  Although we know that God's kingdom will never be fully realized until Jesus comes again, we look for those places where God's kingdom is breaking into this world, breaking the grip of sin and evil and death.

This is what Jesus promised every time he proclaimed, “The kingdom of God is at hand” 
– right here, now, breaking in every day,
·        Every time someone comes to faith
·        Every time someone experiences the presence of God
o   In a sunset
o   Or in the kindness of a stranger
o   Or in a comforting word
o   Or in the words of a hymn
·        every time someone sees God in the face of a stranger,
·        every time someone is fed
o   or clothed,
o   or a injustice is corrected
o   Or a family member is reconciled…

Or any of the myriad places and ways we see God at work in the world today! 

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…

…means that the God is continually working
·        to reconcile the world,
·        to redeem the lost,
·        to restore the broken,
·        to enable us to live as God created us to live.

and that means hope for the world.


So, let us pray…

This morning we are going to pray for God’s rule to break into our world, just as God desires it to.

  1.   As a congregation, we’re going to pray, “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

  2.   Next, we’ll take time for each of us to pray for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done, thanking God for bringing salvation, asking God to bring God’s kingdom to those places that need it, asking God to bring the kingdom in us, and through us to the world.
a.   You can pray this out loud or silently.
b.   If you’d like to, and I encourage this, turn to someone next to you and take turns praying your prayer of praise out loud.

   3.   After a few minutes, we’ll close with “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen”

“Jesus, Lord, use this time to teach us to pray…

“Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

Time for individual prayer

“For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Our hymn of the day is “Take My Life and Let it Be,”  - a prayer asking God to break into our lives and, through us, break into the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment