The Kingdom of God is not a place we reach by airplane, ship or car; it is about people, a loving relationship with God and with one another.
September 12, 2021
The Kingdom of God
Luke 11: 2-4
Pastor Heather McColl
Luke 11: 2-4
He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
We continue with our worship series “The Lord’s Prayer” with The Kingdom of God, Luke 11: 2-4. I think I scared the tech team a bit this week when they noticed the biblical text slides which we use in worship had not been changed. They still had the same scripture as last week. I reassured them that yes, the slides were correct, that yes, the scripture would be the same for a bit because we are continuing with our series, using Luke’s version of this famous prayer. We are continuing our conversation on the Lord’s Prayer by taking a look at the second line of this prayer: “Your Kingdom Come”.
Luke does not add the “Your Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven” like Matthew does. He simply makes the plea for God’s Kingdom to Come. Or as it is stated in other versions, Luke makes a plea for God to make the world right.
As I have lived with this part of the prayer this week while at the same time, listening to the all goings on in our state, our nation, and our world, as I held these up together, I could not help but think…Do we really want this part of the prayer to come to fruition? Do we really want God’s Kingdom to Come? Do we really want God to make the world right?
I know we like to think we do. But when it comes down to it….do we really want God’s Kingdom to Come? After all, just listen to Mary’s Song as she describes what will happen when God’s Kingdom is fully realized here on Earth:
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed.
It all sounds well and good but let’s tell it like it is…Most of us, myself included, would not fall into the category of “the lowly”. We would not fall into the group described as “the hungry”. Rather we would fall into the ones described as those with arrogant thoughts or proud inclinations. We would fall into the category of the “rich”.
Sure we may not be in the 1%, building rockets to race into space with our billions of dollars. But most of us here, most of us watching, most of us are able to maintain a comfortable existence. We want for nothing. We probably have more stuff than we need which is a great way to remind you the annual Rummage sale is happening this weekend if you need to clear out some of your stuff.
When we look at the Lord’s Prayer, Luke’s plea for God’s Kingdom to come is not good news for those of us comfortably sitting in our pews. It is not good news for those of us who benefit from the systems of our culture.
The point of the matter is that Luke’s plea for God’s Kingdom to come was never meant to be good news for us. It was always meant to comfort those whom others have forgotten. It was always meant to be good news for those who find themselves on the margins, good news for those who society has oppressed, good news for those whom society has denied their very humanity.
I think that is why we as people of faith like Matthew’s version of this prayer better. “Your Kingdom Come. Your Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. When we hear these lines, we have this image of peace and quiet, this image of the Lion laying down with the lamb. We like Matthew’s version of this prayer better because it allows us to sit on the sidelines while God does all the hard work.
However, Luke’s plea for God’s Kingdom to come holds us accountable as disciples of Christ. It reminds us that it is a both/and process. Yes God will ultimately be the one who brings about healing and wholeness for all of God’s AND as ones who have experienced a different way to be, we are called to be a part of this process as God’s heart and hands in this world.
Luke’s version of this prayer recognizes that all is not as it should be in our world. There is so much brokenness and hurt, so much pain and suffering. Yet at the same time, when we pray these words, we proclaim that God is not an absent God, sitting in some far distant universe, detached from us. We know that God is actively moving in and among us, bringing about healing and wholeness for all of God’s people.
With Luke’s plea for God to make this world right as part of our worship, as part of our faith, as part of the ritual which makes us disciples of Christ, these simple words remind us that “wherever there is a sincere abounding love of God and a sincere abounding love of neighbor, the kingdom of God has taken root in that place….,[It reminds us that “ the kingdom of God is not a place we are going to get to by entering an airplane, a ship or a car; [Rather] its’ about people, its’ about a loving relationship with God and with one another.”
Or let me say it this way…yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of an instance of the worst of what humanity can and does against each other. Yesterday also marked a reminder of the days which followed that horrible instance, days which showed us some of the best of what humanity can and does for each other.
I’m grateful for the words shared by an elder of this church… “My hope is we can look back on this anniversary and remember what it was like to be united. We are all one and we are all in this together. May we see each other as human beings and just be kind to one another.”
Or as Luke would say it… “God, Bring in Your Kingdom. Make this World Right. God….Your Kingdom Come”. May it be so.
See also: Theology Tuesday for Sunday, September 12, 2021 – The Kingdom of God, Luke 11- 2-4.