Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
So far, the prayer has been acknowledging the reality of God and his posture towards us, his existence within a context that is beyond the mess and struggle that we know, and his ability to not be corrupted by the horrors of this world. For most Christians - for most people - who have a picture of God this part of the prayer is easy to understand. A holy or otherworldy God who exists in heaven somewhere fits with what many conceive about God.
But the next line really begins to draw us into the kingdom reality Jesus came to offer. This is really what is on God's heart.
May your kingdom come soon.
Many people live their lives longing for the hope of escaping this world. Many well-meaning preachers and songwriters have offered this as the hope of the gospel. (Think about the old gospel song that claimed, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.") But that is not the hope scripture lays out for his people.
With this prayer we are invited to imagine a much more beautiful future. One that aligns with scripture from the beginning of Genesis 1 (when humanity is created with the role and responsibility of living within and caring for the rest of creation) and the end of Revelation (when 'God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.'). The prayer is for the dwelling place of God to come among us.
Jesus did not come to take us away from earth to get to heaven. He came bringing the kingdom/the dwelling place of God/heaven to us. It is already here. It just isn't fully here yet. And so we pray, "May kingdom come soon!"
We call out for the realities of God and heaven which we identify in the first sentence to become the realities we experience and live within here on earth. Soon. (Now!)
As we walk through the mess we do so with this longing and this prayer. Not to escape the struggle, but to see it transformed into heaven. For me, that changes how I view the struggles and those within it. I don't want to push people away. I want to draw people into this radically reimagined way of living and being in deep connection with our Father who is in heaven.
Let us look for and pray for this as we move through this week.