I had the pleasure of meditation duty at church today. Here’s what I said.
My parents were both school teachers. They taught me how to read before I went to school. They taught me to look deeper into what was written, to think about the words, and to see if there was any substance behind the words.
At multiple times in the past, Jeff has mentioned that he prays through the Lord’s Prayer before he gets up in the morning. He is careful to explain that it isn’t a magic formula for health and wealth – it is a model prayer, given to us by Jesus. I don’t want to misquote Jeff – I think he uses it as a framework, and I know he has said that there are times when he will go deeper in one phrase or sentence, and won’t make it to the end of the prayer. I like the idea of following where the Spirit leads.
I try to do the thing that Jeff suggested, of praying in the morning before I get up, using the Lord’s Prayer as my guide. I ponder the phrases and sentences, thinking about what they mean. Recently, I have been spending a lot of time on one simple sentence: Thy kingdom come.
It seems pretty easy to figure out. “Thy” refers to God the Father. “Kingdom” is, you know, God’s kingdom. And “come” means to move from wherever it is to here. Easy.
But let’s look a bit deeper at these words. “Thy” does refer to God the Father. And in the Lord’s Prayer, how did we just address Him? He is our father, He lives in Heaven, and we want His name to be made, or honored as, holy. So we have exalted Him, and that is the context that we say “Thy”. It’s not just “Yo, God, bring it down.” We are talking to God, Himself, seated on His throne in glory.
And so we come to “kingdom”, which implies a King, who is God the Father. And what sort of a Kingdom is this? It’s a physical Kingdom, yes. Jesus is coming back, and He is coming to this world. When Philippians 2:10 says “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth”, it is talking about every knee. And it is also talking about spiritual knees. In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus is being pestered.
“Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.””
That is the kingdom, the spiritual kingdom. The Lord’s prayer invites both.
And what is this Kingdom invited to do? To come. To come here, wherever we are physically located. And to come here, into our hearts.
It is a risky thing to invite God’s Kingdom to come into your heart. You have to step up and be a follower of Jesus, and not a fan. Part of that is following Jesus’ words when He said “Do this in remembrance of Me.” All who are followers of Jesus, who have asked for God’s Kingdom to come into their hearts, into their lives, let us participate in the bread and the cup.
The Israelites wanted a king. They had been following God and his prophets, but they decided they wanted a new, improved king. Samuel talked to God about this, and wasn’t happy. God told Samuel to warn the Israelites about what a king would want. From 1 Samuel 8:11-19 – and listen to what the king will take:
He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
We who are followers of Christ have chosen our King. We do cry out for relief from the woes of this world, and our King hears us and helps us. And we have become His slaves, by choice. Everything we own is His. He doesn’t take things – He already owns them. He does accept our tithes and offerings, given in love from a cheerful heart.