Thy Kingdom Come!
Bible Text: Isaiah 65:17-25 | Preacher: Pastor Rae | Please pray with me: Beloved God, I pray that you would take these words and speak through them. Where they are true to the kingdom that you envision for us, may they be blessed and touch the lives of those gathered here. Where they are merely mine and go astray, I pray that no harm would be done.
Thy Kingdom Come. Thy Kingdom Come.
Today we are consecrating the gifts that we have gotten from God that we are bringing back to God. We celebrate the good work that we are doing here in this place, in this building, in this city and town. We lift up the goodness that we are offering to God through our work as a church body, part of the body of Christ in the world. Today we are celebrating God’s kingdom come.
Every week we pray the prayer that Jesus taught us and every week it rolls off of our tongues as a simple rote prayer that we learned at our parent’s knee or in the pew of our childhood church. But do we really mean it? Thy kingdom come. What does that really mean? Are we prepared for the Kingdom to truly come? What might transform around us if we give our all to God and God’s work in this world?
What might transform if we live into trusting God to transform our lives, our church, our town, our world? Will we like it? Will it be familiar? Will it be scary or disturbing?
Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom come.
I watched the Burlington High School Musical, Urinetown, this weekend. My oldest daughter was on stage performing and my youngest was the Assistant Stage Manager. It is always a maternal joy to watch my girls in the element in which they thrive, and they truly thrive in the drama club!
Urinetown the musical was incredibly entertaining, but also educational and poinient. It makes you think. As I said to my girls after the performance, it was hilariously depressing.
Set in a future world racked by drought, the political and corporate corruption has divided the halves and have-nots even farther than we see them in reality today. The center piece is that people need to pay to use the bathroom; infractions are punishable by death. This may not sound entertaining, but it plays out as an elaborate satire and no one gets out unscathed.
Both the political machine as well as the revolutionaries are called out for their evident flaws. No one is really a hero. The moral of the story? Humans are doomed to destroy themselves.
It doesn’t leave much room for hope. It is definitely a product of my generation, the gen-xers. We are notoriously nihilistic. I confess that I can be every bit as cynical as the generation I hail from, but as cynical as I can be, I am also faithfully optimistic. My cynicism is with humanity and human institutions, the church institutional included, but my optimism is in God’s kingdom and the body of Christ – the good and beautiful people who are sometimes part of the church institutional and sometimes not at all.
God is at work on us and through us, if we will let Them. The ultimate transformation of this world is the thing that we, as Christians, claim that we crave, but how ready are we for the results of that prayer? Thy kingdom Come.
Are we ready for the poor to be lifted up and the rich to be brought down? Are we prepared for the children to lead us and for our old ones to prophesy? This is already happening in the kingdom of God and it has been for millennia.
In the secular world I may not be rich, but in God’s kingdom I am rich beyond belief. In the secular world a millionaire may be rich, but may be hopelessly poor in spirit, in love, in meaningful life-giving work. Be in the world, but not of it – we are told.
Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom come, Beloved God!
Start in my heart! Begin here. Help me know my true worth, not by the numbers in my bank account but by the love in my heart and the joy of my spirit.
Thy kingdom come, loving God!
Start in our relationships. Not that we would never make mistakes, but that when we do we would forgive, trust one another, and grow in our love for one another.
Thy kingdom come, merciful God.
Start in our community. Not that we would have beautiful buildings, but that we would be a beautiful people – lifting the poor out of their despair, embracing the lonely as our family members!
Thy kingdom come, gracious God!
Transform our very lives, individually and collectively, that we would trust in your hope for this world rather than trusting the fallible human cravings, fears, hubris, and hierarchies. In a world filled with unfathomable suffering and exquisite beauty, we trust in your goodness.
Thy kingdom come! Thy kingdom come, your holy spirit come upon us!
Oh that we would listen. Oh that we would open our hearts to you. Oh that we would open our minds to your wisdom and put our whole selves in your service.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done!
We are not wise enough to be left to our own devices. We do not know what we should do, but we offer to you our very selves. Grant us your wisdom and the courage that we should act on it. Bless the gifts that we bring to our shared ministry, that they might be blessed like fishes and loaves. Bless our ministry, that we might be creating the peaceable kingdom, your kingdom, along with you!
Here we are, Lord God. Here we are with our flaws and our gifts, our strengths and our weaknesses, our temptations and our faithfulness, our transgressions and our confessions. Here we are, Lord God!
Thy kingdom come!