April 4, 2012: The Thirty-Seventh Day of Lent

April 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is heaven.” ~ Matthew 6.10 ~

The Lord’s Prayer continues. Having taught us how we can speak to our heavenly Father, Christ begins to guide his disciples in the content of prayer in the Kingdom of Heaven. Like the Beatitudes, Christ uses poetic form for this prayer. In this form, we can expect to see a thought presented in one line. The following line usually will contain an expansion or a further meditation on the first thought.

In this verse, Christ says, “Your kingdom come,” addressing the Father. Christ’s disciples should pray in ways that bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. In first-century, Roman-occupied Israel, this was a revolutionary idea. The Empire even had its own cult that set up Caesar as a god in and of himself. To publicly pray for the coming of YHWH’s heavenly kingdom meant that one also prayed for the downfall of the Roman Empire – a subversive prayer, to say the least.

The second line expands upon the first’s thought: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The Father’s will rules in the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ’s disciples pray that the same takes place on earth. However, this does not mean that Christ’s disciples sit by and wait for Christ to swoop out of the sky on a white horse; far from it! Rather, as Christ’s followers pray, God’s Spirit fills them and empowers them to submit their own wills to the heavenly Father, and then in turn go and live as ambassadors of the heavenly kingdom on earth.

Then and now, this verse challenges followers of Christ in two ways. First, we must search our hearts and our lives for ways that we oppose the Kingdom of Heaven and the will of our heavenly Father. This has far-reaching implications. Do we harbor resentment and bitterness toward others? Do we continually lift up our own ideals higher than those we read in the Beatitudes? If we pray for God’s will to be done, we must submit our wills to Christ and let him purify them.

Second, we must become people of action; people who live according our prayers to bring the Kingdom of Heaven. We must seek out reconciliation and peace. We must work to bring about wholeness in the world. This has far-reaching implications, as well. Do we live in ways that contradict our prayers? Do we pray for God to heal the world and then live in ways that injure it?

This prayer should not be taken lightly; yet, it is the prayer of those who follow Christ. As we begin to approach the end of this Lenten season, let us ponder Christ’s death and what it means for us to let his heavenly kingdom come.

Lord Christ, please help me submit my will to you. Show me the ways that I oppose you in the world; where I spend my time and my money, with the things that I say and do. Help me to be a person of love, prayer, and action. Amen. 

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