Tomorrow I will lead my adult church class which is studying the Lord’s Prayer. I volunteered to lead the discussion of “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” because it is my favorite section of this well-known prayer. The curriculum writer for this study calls this line a lament, because it points out the fact that there is something seriously wrong with the world we live in. I have to disagree, because to lament means to express sorrow, mourning, or regret. I believe these lines express the hope and faith that God’s kingdom IS coming, and, as Jesus said, it is even already here among those who do God’s will.
Luke 17:20-21 says: Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
If the kingdom is already here, there is no reason to lament. We find the kingdom within ourselves when we choose divine will over the will of our egos. To live according to divine will is to live from the heart. As stated in Micah 6:8 “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” When we affirm this with faith it is true. When enough people find the kingdom of heaven within themselves the kingdom will come to all the world.
Jesus said “ . . . strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). When we do God’s will, that is, do all things with love, our material needs will be met. And if we are truly loving and compassionate, we will not have a great many material desires. The ego desires things that are not in keeping with divine will. For instance, the ego likes to argue, to be right, and to put others down. The ego wants things that don’t necessarily make one happy, but that give one prestige, status, and power. None of this belongs in the kingdom of heaven, which is a peaceful place.
The prophet, Isaiah, promises the triumph of God’s kingdom on earth : “He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they 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 anymore” (Isa. 2:4). This is what the kingdom of heaven is like, so those who love war, or want to be more powerful than others, or amass wealth at the expense of peace, cannot enter this kingdom.
Jesus told the Parable of the Ten Virgins to illustrate the importance of being prepared for the kingdom to come:
1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
What does it mean to keep watch – to stay awake? Jesus also told us to be in the world but not of it – which is to be spiritually awake. When we are spiritually unconscious we go through life not thinking about our actions and whether we are choosing divine will or that of our egos. So many of us go through life like robots -- going to work, coming home to eat and watch television, not thinking about how our actions affect others. If we wish to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must think about our choices and how they affect our own souls as well as the soul of the world.
Jesus also said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3) One who is humble is not egotistic! Children are also innocent, nonjudgmental, and imaginative. Before we shower children with material things and expose them to commercials, they are content with the simple pleasures of life. Children tend to be idealistic. It is so easy for a child to have faith in the goodness of humanity and nature. If everyone could maintain the faith of childhood, we would all live in the kingdom of heaven!
In Revelation 21, we read:
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
I hope the new earth is not lacking for seas, because I love beaches and the ocean, but the rest of this prophecy is beautiful. Many of today’s Christians no longer believe this prophecy will come true. They think it would have happened by now if it was going to happen, and they are tired of waiting for something that was supposed to take place soon after Jesus’ ascension. But Jesus said the kingdom would come at the end of the age. He also said: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Traditional Christians do not seem to know what Jesus meant when he spoke of an age. Astrologers present an age as a 2,000 year span. It has now been 2,000 years since Jesus made his promise. It is the close of the age and the close of a 26,000 year cycle – the period of time that it takes our sun to revolve half-way around the Great Central Sun. It is the end of the age of darkness: the dawn of the Golden Age of Light. You can read more about the 26,000 year cycle in these articles:
I will close the class time with a meditation, using these lines as a mantra. You might like to try it:
Breathe in: Thy kingdom come. (Think about the kingdom within you.)
Breathe out: Thy will be done. (Think about manifesting the kingdom out in the world.)
Peace and Blessings,