Monday, December 9, 2013

Thy Kingdom Come

25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
“And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
This is the Advent we wait for now, the Advent of our King, when our redemption finally draws near. It is for this day and its coming that we diligently pray, Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come soon. There is a tinge of this we pray for when we pray thy kingdom come, even as we pray that his reign would come in our hearts and the hearts of our friends and families even now so that we would be prepared for this advent, so that when this advent comes we would be prepared, and they would be prepared to life up our heads, and straighten our backs, knowing our fight is now over, and our redemption has come. This is the advent we wait for.
Thy kingdom come, Your kingdom come. The petition has a bit of a double meaning. “His kingdom comes Luther says, when our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, (who is named Holy because he makes us Holy) so that by His grace we believe his Holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.” It is this coming of his kingdom we pray comes that we and those we love would be prepared for this second coming the Advent of our Lord in clouds of glory, the drawing near of our redemption, the coming of his kingdom in all its glory.
That we would be prepared for this day. Not everyone will be prepared for that day. Jesus says it will be like the days of Noah and people will be eating and drinking, marrying and being given into marriage. No one was the wiser, and the doors shut. The days in other words, will be like today. Christmas cookies and eggnog, and better things to do then keep God’s word, better things to do then to pray, Thy kingdom come, and hold fast to those things through which God’s kingdom comes, to the word of God and it’s study, to prayer and devotions, to church attendance and absolution, to the baptism of your children and grandchildren, and to the participation in the Lord’s Supper where we receive the forgiveness of sins in the body and blood of our Paschal Lamb. Yes it is here, in church that we are prepared by the Holy Spirit for this great and glorious dawn of our redemption when the sun of righteousness rises with healing in its wings. It is here in the word and the sacraments that God’s kingdom comes to us, when he gives us the Holy Spirit, and we are made holy and from here that holiness grows on earth as it goes out from us and spreads into the community that the Holy Spirit is given through us the church to those around us, the loved ones, the despised ones, the ugly ones made beautiful in the sanctifying waters of baptism. Because that day won’t be pretty for everyone, not everyone will be prepared.
No, we pray Maranatha, lord come quickly, even as the prophet Amos asks us who desires the day of our Lord, and reminds us of another aspect to this day, that it is a day of darkness and not light, as if one fled from a lion and runs into a bear, or makes it home to be bitten by a serpent hiding in the wall. There are those who reject our Lord, they do not hear him, they do not listen to his voice, they refuse forgiveness. Their arrogance leads them to believe they need not salvation, they need not forgiveness for their evil deeds. For their evil deeds. For some the idea of forgiveness is repulsive and the even persecute those who receive it. For others, their deeds look little different than ours if at all different in these dark and evil days in which we labor, and even those things that we see as sin, we see in ourselves, hatred and murder, sensuality and adultery, lying and stealing, gossiping and coveting. Yes, if they are guilty of these things and will burn for them, we know ourselves that we too are guilty of these things and ought to burn like stubble with them these evil doers. No, the only difference between us and them is we have been fortunate to have the Lord’s kingdom come to us and prepare us for glorious advent, for some even before we knew what was happening and water poured over our heads, the word of God, the forgiveness of sins spoke into our hearts. For others perhaps after a long life and the weariness of sin finally takes its toll, and we finally hear the voice of our shepherd call, his staff reaching down and pulling us out of the briars and off the cliff. But it is heard, and it is cherished this voice, and day in and day out we pray thy kingdom come, and attend to his word that the Holy Spirit may attend to us, and those around us through us. That when the day of our Lord dawns, and the sun of righteousness comes with healing in its wings, we would straighten our backs with them, and they would raise their heads with us, and rejoice on that day that our redemption draws near.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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