The Worship Quote of the Week for (04/04/2006):

Thy Kingdom Come
What are we praying for when we pray for God’s Kingdom to come? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from a short book on the Lord’s Prayer by N. T. Wright, Canon Theologian at Westminster Abby in London.

What are we praying FOR when we pray for God’s Kingdom to come?

The second main petition in the Lord’s Prayer—“Thy Kingdom Come”—rules out any idea that the Kingdom of God is a purely heavenly (that is, “other-worldly”) reality. Thy kingdom come, we pray, thy will be done ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. Sort out the familiar, but technical, terms. “Heaven” and “earth” are the two interlocking arenas of God’s good world. Heaven is God’s space where God’s writ runs and God’s future purposes are waiting in the wings. Earth is our world, our space. Think of the vision at the end of Revelation. It isn’t about humans being snatched up from earth to heaven. The holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down FROM heaven to earth. God’s space and ours are finally married, integrated at last. That is what we pray for when we pray “thy Kingdom come.”

Jesus’ contemporaries were longing for God to become King. To put it bluntly, they were fed up with the other kings they’d had for long enough. As far as they were concerned, the Roman emperors were a curse, and the Herodian dynasty was a joke. It was time for the true God, the true King, to step into history, to take the power and the glory, to claim the kingdom for his own.

— N. T. Wright, THE LORD AND HIS PRAYER. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996, p. 24-25. ISBN 0-8028-4320-4

[Once again, this Palm Sunday, many of us will be hearing the exciting, but troubling account of those first-century Jews in Jerusalem. Certainly, when the crowd shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” they were dreaming of deliverance from the Roman occupation, the secular forces of oppression. Even Jesus’ disciples had it wrong, didn’t they? Well, what do we twenty-first-century followers of Jesus pray for when we pray, “Thy Kingdom come”? The answer must have everything to do with the nature of our great King.]

FOR PALM SUNDAY AND HOLY WEEK (Triumphal Entry) (Ministry and Passion of Jesus) (Upper Room) (Upper Room) (Good Friday)

For Christ and His Kingdom,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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