We are not blind to the chaos and injustice that we see all around us. We write about the hope that we see, we write about the delight that we experience in this life, but we see the ugly. We see it in the nooks and crannies of the city streets, we see it in the media, we see it when we sit at a table with others and hear their stories of betrayal and disconnect. We see it clearly and it breaks our hearts. There are times that the burden is so heavy I want to scream out. I want to cry to the heavens, Lord have mercy!!
I see an Empire system that builds armies and weapons of mass destruction, waging war in the name of peace, and bringing justice seems to fall short, offering mercy to some and the hand of death to others. I see a system that continues to oppress the down trodden, making it impossible for some to walk freely in their own skin. I see a world that is unprincipled, dog-eat-dog, a world that doesn’t fight fair. It’s not just “them or those people” either as this Empire system seeps into the everyday life. Heads held high as a sibling smites one another or a husband and wife who build a marriage based on lies or discord. This Empire wages war in the depth of our very own hearts.
What if by buying into this system, suggesting this is just the natural order of things, we are being duped? I hate being duped! What if there is another option? What if we we’re created to live a different way? What if there really is such a thing as “Thy Kingdom Come?” And, what if it is available in the here and now?
Scripture says that Jesus prayed those words. He prayed “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” And, by praying this, He teaches us that the two aren’t so far apart, he prays it and then we see through out his life that he does just that. He brings heaven to earth. We see him heal the lame, give sight to the blind, freeing those oppressed by the bondage of addiction, self-centeredness and/or evil spirits. And, then we see him fulfill his covenant to humanity by laying down his life so we might live this kingdom life as well. In the beginning was the word, and the word was God. Everything was created through him, nothing – not one thing came into being without him. It is what the new convent of his blood on the cross was all about, a focused center: One man dies for everyone. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life. A resurrection life, a Kingdom life, a far better life than people lived on their own.
Empire suggests that only a select few have this option, and that man will judge who comes and goes. But, Thy kingdom come, says that no one who trusts God, heart and soul, will ever regret it.
As we move towards a Kingdom mindset, we find freedom from the fear and pride that keeps us locked into making sure we are on top and not on the bottom; for to be on the bottom would surely mean death, and if not death then isolation and rejection. This freedom results in a confidence in God’s love and empowers us to pray and live out “Thy Kingdom Come” as we wait for the final frontier. The ancient text says that Jesus will return and when he does he will rule the world with peace, a peace that passes all understanding, peace without the sword. The ancient text says that living water will flow from the city center bringing life to all, and the lion will lay with the lamb. It says that his rule will once and for all set the captives free.
I realize I’m probably part of a minority, but I’m holding on, not because I think I’m going to get something out of it, but because I’m convinced that the God of all gods is who he says he his and his purposes shall stand. I’m convinced that God’s grace is real and nothing can separate me from his love.
And, so although we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. Instead, we expose this empire, this Government of Condemnation, by smashing it’s warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulses into the structure of life shaped by Christ. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt system by “living out” thy kingdom come, loosing the bonds, healing the broken-hearted and setting the captives free, bringing peace and love, resurrection power and the ministry of reconciliation to all we meet.
Yes, these are hard times, but we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
As the encouraging words from James, Jesus’ younger brother say, “These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye.”