Reflections: Thy Kingdom Come!
This week we join in with the Church of England’s yearly prayer event ‘Thy Kingdom Come.’ We take a bit of a diversion from our series in Galatians and probe into today’s reading, with a slant on God’s Kingdom coming.
1 Peter 3:8-17
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
When I was a child, I was encouraged to learn the Lord’s prayer. It was a prayer that Jesus taught his followers to pray. Though as a small child there were many words and sentences I didn’t understand. Particularly the line which says, ‘thy kingdom come.’ What did this mean I thought? Ask any young child what they think a kingdom is. They will joyfully tell you it’s all about Kings, power, crowns and swords. The King having authority to rule over the people and land. What he says ‘goes!’
The kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ will reign for ever and ever and have no end. We have been invited into this eternal dynasty. Jesus often spoke of the kingdom of God coming near. Jesus Christ, God’s son, died on a cross because he loved us first. He died to forgive our sins. He defeated death and was resurrected. He ascended to sit at the right hand of his Father. Finally, he poured out his Holy Spirit and this set hearts on fire for Jesus. The gospel was proclaimed by ordinary people. Just like you and me. The kingdom was Gods purpose coming into plan. There would be justice, people would have a good relationship with God, there would be hope for the poor, healing and freedom, chaos to order, darkness to light. Mercy and forgiveness would take precedence over bitterness and resentment. And we are the ambassadors of Christ to bring that love, hope, mercy and forgiveness to others.
As I read and reflect on today’s passage, I feel encouraged that we are called to bless and love others; to do good in the name of Jesus. To seek peace with all people and pursue it. To notice people in the background and bring joy and encouragement to those in need. Though, I honestly think at times that being a follower of Jesus is like ‘flowing against the tide.’ That sounds challenging doesn’t it? Imagine yourself as a little fish and all the others are swimming in a different direction. That would be so hard. When Jesus told his first followers, ‘come follow me and I will teach you how to fish for people,’ there was clear direction; keeping following, listening, and do what Jesus did. I imagine the disciples were unaware of what they were entering into? They would indeed suffer for the gospel, and be resented by many. What set them apart from others? Why did they continue to share the good news and do good?
a) They dwelled in God (Immanuel; God with us)
b) They were sent to have dominion over the earth; as Gods’ image bearers to ‘GO’ and do the work of the kingdom; to show what God is like to everyone. (Matt 28:18-20)
c) They were part of God’s kingdom. They were not slaves to any King. They were sons and daughters of King Jesus. They were co-heirs with Christ. They were kingdom people.
In this unusual season we find ourselves in, let us continue in faithful daily prayer to boldly swim against the flow. Who is God nudging you to bless today? Why don’t you connect with that person? Apart from offering food and to collect medicines, ask them, ‘how are you doing?’ Most people are really hurting right now. Let us not be afraid, for we have the presence of God dwelling in us. And one day, the tide will turn, because we are called to live the Good News of the Gospel of the kingdom. Thy Kingdom Come.