Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thy Kingdom Come!

Luke 11:2 (ESV)
And he said to them, "When you pray, say:

"Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.

Jesus gets right on in and starts teaching them how to pray, what to pray for. Luther’s small Catechism is probably the best commentary on this prayer ever written. God’s name should be hallowed, that is holy. Hallow being an old way of saying just that, which means last night was far from Satanic as far as Christians are concerned. Today is all hallows, all saints. God’s name is kept holy when we respect it in what we think say and do. We are Christians, we belong to him, we are his children, we wear his name as it were. The same as what we do growing up reflects upon our father and the family name. But more than this, his name is holy regardless of what we do to tarnish it, and him putting it upon us, makes us holy despite our sin. We live in thankfulness for that!
Your kingdom come. Thy kingdom come. I once started teaching on this and got bogged down in a discussion concerning pre-millenialism. I was pretty dumbfounded. I had never thought that evangelicals who pray the Lord’s Prayer, if they ever do, because it is a written prayer, actually believe they are praying for the mythical thousand year reign of Christ they believe is coming after some supposed secret rapture. I hate pre-millenialism. It is anti gospel, it is a pseudo gospel, it is a satanic lie that causes the baptized children of God to live in a perpetual fear. And this provides the second reason an Evangelical would fear praying this prayer. They don’t so much fear the return of Christ, so much as they fear being left behind to wait out the tribulation they think is coming after the rapture. I never have been able to sort out all of that. The “Rapture” in Thessalonians seems to be anything but secret, and seems to also describe the very end of the world. The tribulation? Christ is very clear that we will experience tribulation in this world. So unless you think he was just lying to his disciples you have a real conundrum.
But it does dawn on me, that this part of the Lord’s prayer is a bit like the “sinners prayer.” It is that way, because Jesus never describes the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God as if it were a real kingdom. He starts his parables saying the kingdom of heaven is like, and then describes salvation. This is the kingdom we pray for when we pray this prayer. The thing is though, that one can’t really pray the prayer unless they are already part of the kingdom, already saved, because only by becoming a child of God through faith do we have the wherewithal to address God as “Our Father.” But then salvation isn’t static, so the Christian prays for salvation even as the Christian seeks God in faith. We pray thy kingdom come, because we do not want it to leave. We pray thy kingdom come, because we want the mustard seed to grow where it has been planted. We pray thy kingdom come, because we want our money to double, to multiply. We pray thy kingdom come, because when we pray we are refusing to bury our talent, but we are investing it for return.

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