Summary: One of a series in the Lord’s Prayer, this sermon deals with the phrase, "Thy Kingdom Come."
It is a common plot for television and movies for a man to take a woman to a restaurant on a date.
It is a French restaurant, and the menu is printed in French. The woman, fluent in the French language, orders something that only she and the waiter understand.
The man, not wanting to appear ignorant, does something truly ignorant. He simply points to some mysterious words in the menu and says, "I’ll have one of those."
Much to the dismay of the man, when the meal is brought to the table, what the man has ordered is both alien and disgustingly similar to what he has tried to keep out of his garden.
Be careful what you order in restaurants. If you don’t know what you are asking for, you might very well regret it.
The same can be said for prayer. Be careful what you pray for. You might get it, and regret it.
Take the Lord’s Prayer, for example.
Here is a prayer that looks and sounds safe. What could possibly be distressing about praying for our daily bread, or freedom from temptation?
But hold on a moment. Very early in the prayer, there is the phrase, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
Praying for the kingdom to come on earth might be like asking for escargot in a French restaurant and ending up with a plate of snails. You’ll get what you ask for, but it might not be what you
Do you really want the kingdom of God to come on earth?
What exactly are we asking for when we pray this phrase of the Lord’s Prayer?
We are actually asking for two things. We are asking for a radical change in our society and a radical change within ourselves.
In the kingdom of God, it is the poor who are blessed. It is those who mourn and grieve. It is the meek and those who hunger and thirst for what is right. It is the merciful and the pure in heart. It is the peacemaker and the persecuted. These are the people blessed
in God’s Kingdom.
That is a radical change from our present society in which the rich are the ones who are blessed; in which the aggressive climber of the corporate ladder gets the best job; and in which the immoral prosper.
In the kingdom of God, when you get hit on your right cheek, you will willingly get hit on your left cheek as well.
In the kingdom of God, if someone asks for your coat, you give him your shirt as well. If anyone has two shirts, one of them is shared with some one who has none. Two shirts! My goodness, I must have 30 shirts.
It only gets worse in the parables of Christ. It is the son who wished his father dead so he could get his inheritance early who ends up the hero in Jesus’ best-known story. It is a despised Samaritan who is to be respected for his compassion. Tax collectors and sinners enter the kingdom before the pious and upright. Lazarus, the beggar, rests in Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man at whose gates he had begged languishes in torment. Those who work one hour are paid the same as those who work twelve. What kind of economic order is that?
In the kingdom of God, nobody is forced to live in poverty. Everyone is treated with dignity, no matter the amount of his or her productive work. The last go first and the first last. The nobodies receive a place of honor at the feasts. In story after story it is the worthless of the world’s societies who become the most important in God’s society.
What in heaven’s name is going on here? Well that just the point. What is going on is in heaven’s name. These things are things of the kingdom of God.
If we are poor, powerless, and oppressed, all of this is positively Good News. Indeed, in the Scriptures, it is said that to these descriptions of the kingdom, the "poor heard gladly."
When we pray for the kingdom to come on this earth, we are really asking for two things. First, we are asking for a radical change in the world. For there to be a global change so that there would be established on this earth a perfect society.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah wrote of such a perfect society.
"(Nations) shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken." (4:3-4)