Greetings, in the name of God the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit!
When we hear the word kingdom, there are a lot of images that undoubtedly come to mind. For me images that often are associated with how life may have been like at the turn of the first millennium are what come to mind; images of castles and thrones, a host of servants mulling about the royalty, and all the peasants waiting to be in the company of greatness. When we utter the words of the second petition in the prayer that Jesus teaches, it is easy for our minds to go in that direction, but that is not what is meant by the kingdom of God.
In scripture Jesus spends a lot of time talking about God’s kingdom. He uses parables to equate the kingdom of God, sometimes referred to as the kingdom of heaven, to everyday life; an eye of a needle, a sower of seed, mustard seed, etc. But in each parable the example given is a reference to anytime we, who have been given the Holy Spirit of God, believe God’s Holy Word and live a life pleasing to God, as Luther stats in the Small Catechism; these are the times when
God’s kingdom comes among us.
But this is not something we are naturally inclined to do because of our sinful nature. We would much rather follow our own selfish wills over against God’s perfect will. And so in the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer we ask for God’s help in doing God’s will; the same will of God that is in heaven, here on earth. God accomplishes this by working through the people of God in order to, as Luther states, curb and destroy the evils of this world and our own lives that keep the name of God from being honored and preventing God’s kingdom from coming among us.
In both of these petitions, as with the first petition, Luther reminds us that God’s kingdom coming and God’s will being done are things that God does without our help. But we pray them still so that we may also be a part of God’s perfect plan for the world.
Now that we have identified who it is that we pray to and our relationship to God, the next part of the prayer brings us into asking for the things of this life that we need. Next month we will look at what it means to ask God for daily bread and forgiveness of our sins.
In Christ’s holy name,