Thy Kingdom Come

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Westminster Shorter Catechism

Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” (John 12:30-31)

We’re back to the Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647), looking at what it has to say about the Lord’s Prayer. This time we’re looking at “thy kingdom come”.

Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come, (Matt. 6:10)) we pray, That Satan’ s kingdom may be destroyed; (Ps. 68:1,18) and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, (Rev. 12:10–11) ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; (2 Thess. 3:1, Rom. 10:1, John 17:9,20) and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened. (Rev. 22:20)

The language of this answer illustrates the great changes that people have had in their understanding of Christianity over the years. The talk of “Satan’s kingdom” sounds strange to our ears, but would have been familiar to Christians from the disciples on. We live in an age where we have witnessed the Holocaust and there is much talk of “structural” or “institutional” evil. Perhaps we might rediscover in this lost Christian teaching some words to help to understand what we see on out TV screens.

In this line of the Lord’s prayer we are praying that the reign of God - with all its goodness - will replace the wrong that we see around us. We pray this for our country, but we also pray it for ourselves. May God reign more fully in me, and drive out the wrong that I do and the temptations which plague me.

There is also a forward looking aspect to this prayer. In our communion service we utter the words: “Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again”. In this line of the Lord’s prayer, we look around at so much that is wrong around us and pray: “hurry up”!

The Undercover Archbishop

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2) - “That is the answer the poor man gave me last night. It cannot be possible that this is he!”

Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven

Q. What do we pray for in the third petition? A. In the third petition, (which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, (Matt. 6:10)) we pray, That God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things, (Ps. 67, Ps. 119:36, Matt. 26:39, 2 Sam. 15:25, Job 1:21) as the angels do in heaven. (Ps. 103:20–21)

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