Thy Kingdom Come.
Most people who have been around the church and/or Christianity for some time will recognize these words as coming from what is commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6, Luke 11). I wonder, though: do we seriously consider what these words mean when we pray them?
Of course, in the Lord’s Prayer they are followed with, “Thy will be done.” In God’s Kingdom, God’s will is done. Simple enough, right? But what does that mean for us and the way that we live our lives?
God’s ways are different than our ways. Or rather, God’s ways are different than our ways while our lives conform to the conditions of brokenness. In our natural selves, in our true humanity, our ways are actually a reflection of God’s ways. Genesis 1 tells us that we are created in God’s image. As the story of God unfolds, though, we soon learn about brokenness. Because of sin, the image of God that we were created with has been tarnished. Because of sin, proper relationships between humans and God, humans and each other, humans and their fellow creatures, and humans and themselves have been broken.
When God’s Kingdom comes, restoration is brought to brokenness. No longer do we live at odds with one another. No longer do we ignore our responsibility to take care of God’s creation. No longer do we neglect our self-care. No longer do we show indifference towards God.
God’s ways are different than our ways in our inhumanity. People who continue to live in a state of brokenness seek to elevate themselves above others. They grasp after greatness, which always leads to others being marginalized. They don’t care who they hurt, what they pollute, or what damage they are even doing to themselves. As long as it feels good, everything is ok.
When God’s Kingdom comes, the pursuit of pleasure, power, and greatness is put aside. The oppressed are lifted up. The marginalized are made known. The hungry are fed. The thirsty are given drink. The prisoners are visited, and even set free. The sick are taken care of. The naked are clothed. The homeless are housed. The lost are found. Hospitality is shown. When God’s Kingdom comes, God’s people stand in solidarity with those who are in need, and through that solidarity, Christ’s love is manifested to all.
As we enter into a new year, we must recommit ourselves to God’s Kingdom. We must resist the temptation to lift ourselves up at the expense of others. Rather than tear down others, rather than call names and mock, we should use our words to lift up others and to glorify God. Likewise, in all our actions we need to be loving and compassionate, representing Christ to all those we encounter.
Just as God put on flesh to reveal Godself to us in Christ Jesus, so too are we called to put on Christ to reveal God to others. In and of ourselves this is impossible to do. However, we have been given the Holy Spirit that can and will cleanse us of our sin and restore God’s image in us, enabling us for the perfect love of God that rejects the pursuit of greatness and rather accepts the humility of the cross.
The Holy Spirit working in our lives brings restoration to all the brokenness of our lives. In turn, empowered by the Holy Spirit we work to bring restoration to the brokenness in the world around us. We seek unity, understanding, and peace between people. We take proper care of our environment, and we work to undue the many abuses that humanity has done it. We take care of ourselves in our entirety (body, soul, mind, spirit, etc.), seeking to properly maintain ourselves so that we can be optimally effective for God’s purposes. We lift up Christ in all that we do, knowing that there is no better way to bring restoration to brokenness than by showing Christ’s love to the lost.
As the Holy Spirit works in and through us, God’s Kingdom is made known and expanded. It is God who builds God’s Kingdom, but God uses us to do the work of the Kingdom. So let us be about that work, knowing that through it, God makes all things new.
Thy Kingdom Come.