“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
How familiar is this passage? We quote it. We pray it. Do we understand it? I’m sure that I don’t understand it in its fullness, but the kingdom of God has been on my mind. Jesus talks a lot about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. Many parables deal exclusively with it, but I grew up thinking that it was all about heaven. When I came to understand the “here and not yet” tension of Christian life and the cyclical thinking of Hebrew culture, I did not quite apply it to the kingdom of God. I’ve sang songs and prayed prayers about being the hands and feet of Christ, but I did not ponder what Jesus meant in Luke 17:21 when he said that “the kingdom of God is among you.” I had been looking forward to “not yet”, when suddenly, I saw the “here”.
Paul says in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” This is a very present kingdom, a kingdom that we make up, and a kingdom that should be a reflection of heaven. I have many times lost sight of that. I think in our politically charged, American culture that many of us lose sight of that. We want to establish His kingdom by laws and rulers- just like the disciples did in Jesus’ day. The disciples had in mind a political kingdom whereby Jesus did away with the wrongs and ills of the day, and there is no question by the way that Christians take up a political cause (on any side of the aisle), that we often do the same. Jesus didn’t get caught up in that though. He was personally there meeting needs.
It’s easy to get frustrated with the Body of Christ and forget that we are the Body. It would be easy for me to finger point and bemoan, “if only Christians would…”, but I am the Body. I want his kingdom to come, but I am part of his kingdom. If I am not about righteousness and peace and joy, how can I blame anyone else. If through me, Christ’s body, this cannot be said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,” then I need to pray that his will be done in me, on earth as it is in heaven! The Lord’s redemption isn’t going to come through a politician (be it Trump or the next Bernie), but it is going to come from his people bringing HIS kingdom to earth.