We pray every day for God’s Kingdom to come, but what does this mean?
When we ask God for his kingdom to come, we are asking for God’s ways to happen here on earth, as they are already in heaven. In other words, as Christians we should not be so worried about us going to heaven one day, as heaven coming to us.
The Kingdom of God is central to the teaching and mission of Jesus. It is mentioned dozens of times but it is a hard one to grasp, especially as Jesus never tells us outright what it is, but only indicates to us through his parables and teachings, what it is like. Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven:
- is like a banquet and a great wedding feast,
- is like treasure hidden in a field for which you would be wise to sell everything you own so you can purchase,
- is like a net, cast so it pulls in all sorts of fish,
- is like a landowner who hires labourers to work in the fields: he hires at different time of Day, but pays them equally
The kingdom is like a mustard seed, like a yeast which permeates everything, silently working. Jesus tells us it is within us.
Besides using parables, Jesus also dropped comments here and there about the Kingdom. Jesus says it is hard for the rich to enter it, that you must receive it as a child and that not everyone who says: Lord, Lord, will enter it. Jesus tells us to seek the kingdom first, and then all other needs will be met. Jesus tells us anything that prevents us from entering the kingdom should be discarded – eyes and limbs even. And that prostitutes and tax collectors will get in before religious people.
What can we make of all this? What is this Kingdom? Where is it? If we’ve thought about this at all, perhaps we all have our own meaning. This is my suggestion: A kingdom is a place which you have arranged to suit your own purposes, arranged exactly as I like it. Like it could be your car. I arrange it to suit the seat set just right, mirrors for my height. Radio tunes to the station I like. I drive Ellie crazy when I travel with her by changing her radio from R2 to R3 or 4.
God’s kingdom is called heaven. It reflects his character and his values. Things operate there, the way God wants them to. God’s kingdom is a good place because he is good. There is no lying because He is truth. Love dominates everything because He is love. Heaven is a beautiful place.
But God is also King of this place, King of the Earth. God so loved it that he sent his only-begotten Son to save it. Psalm 47:2:
How AWESOME is the Lord the Most High the great King over all the earth
1 Chronicles 29: 11-12:
Everything on heaven and on earth is yours: Yours O Lord, is the kingdom.
But things are not very good in this bit of God’s kingdom, are they? War in Syria, starvation in Africa, rainforest devastation in the tropics, plastic bottles killing the oceans. This earth doesn’t always seem like God’s place, does it?
Theologians resolve it this way: The kingdom is already – but not yet! Jesus has come, and the Kingdom of God has been founded: The kingdom is at hand. Christ came to earth, defeated Satan on the Cross and ratified his victory with His resurrection. Jesus is the ‘first fruits’ of the kingdom.
But the KIngdom of God isn’t yet.’ Satan is also called ‘the ruler of this earth. Paul calls him: ‘the ruler of this age.’(2 Cor 4:4) Satan is the ‘Prince of the power of the air.’ (Eph 2;2) And Paul tells us the whole creation is groaning in the pains of childbirth as we await the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22)
So the kingdom of God is here, but it isn’t yet what it will be. That’s why Jesus tells us to pray that things on earth will be the same as things in heaven. May up there come down here! In your neighbourhood, in this country, in your home, in your office, in your attitude, in your beliefs, may God be King.
Only God can do this, because Satan is the real enemy. WE can’t decide to bring the Kingdom about, to do this. We can’t decide to be better people, only God can make us so. That’s why the earliest Christians prayed : Maranatha, come down here!
Dear Father of ALL: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, May up there, come down here – quickly, soon. And in the meantime, Come Lord Jesus. Make things right. May up there come down here. We can partner God – we can work to bring this about WITH God. Paul tells us Through our baptism, we have all the spiritual gifts we need. Use your time while waiting for the Kingdom to come to partner WITH God, and always pray: May up there come down here. Help us work with you as we wait for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. AMEN