Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10 (NIV)
The Lord's Prayer – The Verses Series – Part 3
The Lord's prayer has always been one of my favorite passages. I used to pray fervently: Your Kingdom Come! Your will be Done! Amen!
But in recent years, I’ve come to see it in a whole new light.
For the disciples, the Lord's Prayer wasn’t a set of words to recite like I always thought it was, but a prayer they could live. A prayer that would become their life.
And this prayer was a tad controversial:
It spoke truth to power.
It protested the dominant paradigm of control and violence.
It addressed poverty and equality.
It was highly political.
It defied and challenged the power of Caesar.
It revealed a subversive Kingdom that builds down into lives, rather than up into skies.
It wasn’t a sweet little example of a holy prayer; it was the proclamation and inauguration of a different rule and reign on the earth. One of grace and forgiveness rather than revenge and control.
The ancient Hebrews didn’t see Heaven as being a separate place from Earth. It wasn’t the end goal, a different realm, or even the place they went when they died (if they had been good and sacrificed enough). Heaven was all about the here and now; how things were supposed to be; justice and mercy and compassion and freedom. Embodying the name of God in our living and being right here, right now.
The Hebrews were waiting for their freedom to show up, but Jesus was trying to tell them that the Kingdom of Heaven had already arrived: it was in them.
We keep praying that heaven would come to earth, but The Divine is telling us that heaven is already here: in you and me. The Kingdom is here. You are here. The Divine is in you: wound tightly through your blood and bones and breath and heart and spirit.
And yet, The Kingdom is also coming. Things aren’t as they should be because we are yet to remember and understand who we are both individually and collectively. We’ve got more to learn, more to grow, more to become aware and alive to in this whole “embodying The Divine” in and through our lives. And it's got more to do with love and grace and forgiveness than perfection and pontification and platitudes.
To see The Kingdom, you have to abandon what you think you know. God’s not building an empire; he’s not building monuments to himself that make men shake in fear and dwindle in smallness. He isn't conscripting an army to waste on with violence and conquering and tax collection. He’s not setting up a town with cookie cutter houses and workplaces and Christians. Like the Romans did with the countries and lands they conquered.
You have to flip it. God doesn’t build up – he builds down. Right into the soul. Deep into the hearts of people.
But rather than it revealing something entirely new and separate and foreign, it's like a homecoming. The Kingdom doesn't lead you away from yourself, in fact, it's the opposite: it brings you to your truest self.
It reminds you of your origins, who you really are, and who everyone else really is, too.
It heals you.
“The Kingdom of God is not a place, of course, but a condition… When the Kingdom really comes, it's as if the thing you lost and thought you'd never find again is yourself.” Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking.