The Lord’s Prayer – Thy Kingdom Come

Please remember that we are gathering this evening to discuss the first two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer – “Hallowed by thy Name” and “Thy Kingdom Come” as found in Matthew 6:9-10.  Please read Bailey chapter 8 on God’s Holiness and the first several pages of Bailey chapter 9 on God’s Kingdom, and particularly to the three paradoxes and four classical understandings of God’s Kingdom.  Also, read the parables found in Matthew 13 concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.

When we pray for God’s coming Kingdom, our prayer has three aspects to it which are intimately related to the prior petition of hallowing God’s name. In the first instance, the coming of the kingdom refers to the completion of our sanctification where we have put away the works of the flesh in hallowing God’s name and are now filled with the fruit of the spirit. (Galatians 5).  The great seventh-century Eastern theologian St. Maximus the Confessor writes in his Commentary on the Our Father that “We should next invoke the rule of the kingdom of God the Father with the words ‘Thy kingdom come’, that is, ‘May the Holy Spirit come’; for, having put away these things (anger and desire), we are now made into a temple for God through the Holy Spirit by the teaching and practice of gentleness.” John Calvin echo’s this same idea when he writes that the “kingdom consists of two parts: the first is when God by the agency of the Spirit corrects all the depraved lusts of the flesh which war against him; and the second when he brings all our thoughts into obedience to his authority.”  Institutes, Bk 3, ch 20, § 42. Praying for thy kingdom come is praying for our own sanctification and illumination.

Second, as recognized by Calvin, and others, “The completion (of the coming of the kingdom), however, is deferred to the final advent of Christ, when Paul declares, ‘God will be all in all’ (1 Cor. 15:28).”   Or as Prayer Book says “we are subject to (under the authority of) evil and death” but “at the last day (we will be brought) with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.” 1979 BCP 362. The coming kingdom of God, therefore, has an eschatological (end-times) dimension.  Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 15 as does Jesus in the parables of Matthew 13. This coming kingdom is best expressed in that great advent hymn by Charles Wesley Lo! He comes with Clouds Descending (1982 Hymnal 57) as follows:

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.

Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own;
O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly!
Everlasting God, come down!

In the final instances, the kingdom of God has an ecclesiastical aspect to it.  As Calvin says in this same chapter: “God, therefore, sets up his kingdom, by humbling the whole world . . . we should desire this to be done every day, in order that God may gather churches to himself from all quarters of the world.” Institutes, 3.20.42. In the same fashion, Paul addresses his letters to the saints, those that have been sanctified in Christ, in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, etc.  In this respect, the church is both the embassy for the kingdom of God on the earth and also the foretaste of the gathering of all the saints in the world to come. Samuel John Stone expresses this idea of the church as the coming kingdom of God in The Church’s One Foundation (1982 Hymnal 525) as follows:

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.

Dinner is a 6. The menu is pork tenderloin and perogies. Discussion about 6:45. Compline just before 8.  If you have a few extra minutes, please read Maximus’ commentary and if you have an extra hour or two, read John Calvin’s commentary in sections 35 through 52 of Chapter 20 of Book 3 of the Institutes.  Hope to see you here. Please bring a friend.

What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:  “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

1 Corinthians 15:50-55

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