Something about another Kingdom
At our recent Easter Camp up at York, we worked through the Lord’s Prayer together; the sort of prayer that Jesus wants us to pray.
The prayer doesn’t ignore the realities of the broken kingdom that we currently inhabit, rather, it brings the value and perspective of God’s Kingdom to our lives.
We pray for the values of heaven to touch earth.
We pray for provision and sustenance and, implicitly, that it is God from whom all blessings flow.
We pray for reconciled relationships between us and God, and us and others.
We pray to be kept safe from evil and whatever could cause us harm.
And then there’s a summarising statement of the certainty about the sovereignty and divinity of the King and the Kingdom.
We pray for a bunch of things in between these top-and-tail declarations about God’s kingdom because it’s coming in all its fullness, just not yet. We have tastes of it and hints of it, but not in all its fullness.
It’s only resurrection hope that brings the fullness of this new Kingdom. Without it, the only hope that you have is for broken things to get a little better.
For now, though, some pursue other kings and other kingdoms. For now, people pursue the glory of others or live for their own.
And for now, people are sometimes bewildered that values that are opposed to the Kingdom of God don’t deliver outcomes consistent with what they want to see in the world. It shouldn’t surprise us, the problems of a broken kingdom will not be solved by the values or currency of that broken kingdom.
It shouldn’t stop us from seeking to do good, nor should it discourage us from introducing the values of God’s Kingdom through being salt and light, but it should stop us from having any expectation that we will enjoy a form of utopic equity this side of the full and complete expression of God’s kingdom. The kingdoms of this world will not fix those problems.
Justice and mercy are the themes of the kingdom come, not the kingdom now. A Kingdom is whose power is introduced by weakness: a lamb upon the cross, slain for the sins of the world. The kingdom comes in meekness, serving those it could dominate, subjecting itself to the flawed values of another kingdom in order to triumph over its darkness and introduce an entirely new currency of grace to a world that usually lives in opposition to it.
Purity of spirit and the pursuit of holiness and God’s glory are the heart of the kingdom come not the kingdom now. ‘Thy kingdom’ is not our kingdom, it’s God’s Kingdom.
We may look to the US Presidential race and get freaked out by the prospect of a Trump presidency, but pull back and it’s ‘little power’ seeking self-glory. Yes, it’s an horrific thought, but it’s also reflecting the values of a prevailing culture that yearns for control and supremacy any way we can get it. You don’t get things that way in the Kingdom come.
We may get frightened or frustrated by wealth inequality and that’s a healthy concerns as well, but at their root are the values of a prevailing culture and kingdom that is broken, greedy and misusing financial power while seeking self-glory.
We may be frightened by environmental destruction. That’s also a reasonable concern when we’ve been appointed stewards of God’s creation, but at the root of our destruction of the environment are the values of a broken kingdom that treasures economic benefit over justice, Godly stewardship and mercy.
We do well to be concerned over all these things and, the Jesus’ prayer affirms that one of the most sincere expressions of that concern is to declare ‘Doxology’.
When we declare that ‘Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory’, we say that the values of the God’s Kingdom are what we seek.
We declare that they change every problem because they bring a new currency, a new King and a new Kingdom to the problems that plague us. They make all things new.
And yet we are left in this current reality where we have all the hope and promise of resurrection life and can even see the reality of this life in little pockets of our worlds, but we also the relaity of a lesser kingdom that holds sway for now.
Grieve for this kingdom. Be concerned but not anxious. In fact, Jesus says: ‘in this world there will be tribulation but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world’.
Advocate for the values of a Kingdom come but don’t seek the sick to heal themselves. Don’t seek a messed up kingdom to undergo some miraculous transformation that looks like Kingdom of God.
There’s one King over all and in all. He has healing in his wings. All power and authority He owns. Every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. In the coming Kingdom.
That won’t happen for you. It won’t happen for Donald Trump, nor Barak Obama, nor Hilary, Bernie or even Malcolm.
Because ‘Thy’ kingdom is not about us; it’s about Jesus. We anticipate his return by declaring that His is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever.
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