Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory…
We have finally done it. We’ve come to the end of our series on the Lord’s prayer. Somehow we have survived and even took on the storm of dizzying questions you’ve always had about this prayer we do every week. You may be tired, and weak, and worn. But we are here – we have reached the promised land.
Before we return to our regularly scheduled programming, as they say, let us review where we have been.
First we learned that when we speak to our father in heaven, it is less about whether or not God is male and far more about the intimacy of our relationship. We are children to God and as such we are to be seen and heard running headlong to build up a broken world.
Then we talked about what it means for something to be hallowed, or considered holy. And if we are going to take God’s name as holy – it helps to know what it means. God’s name, Y*hw*h, literally means life. So we looked at what the world would look like if we saw all life as as holy as we say we consider God’s name every week.
We thought about the Kingdom of God together and how it is already in our midst. King Arthur and the Disciples showed us that it is our job (not just theirs long ago) to ask the hard questions, seek after God’s purposes and to knock on every door until we see God’s Reign tangibly around us.
After the Kingdom, we talked about the will of God. We re-discovered that all of us seek after little-g gods that look like us, think like us, and make us feel good. We got honest about hypocrisy when we pretend to be something we are not – perfect – and when we fail to stand up for what we believe in. And we learned that God’s will is accomplished through those who truly follow where God leads and live as Christ did: bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to prisoners, giving recovery of sight to the blind, letting the oppressed go free, and proclaiming the year of jubilee.
God’s Kingdom and will are all well and good in heaven, but we really got into the thick of it when we started talking about what it means to pray for them to be the same on earth. We found that though we have darkness inside all of us, we are to strive actively for the light until we see a world full of it. We are to work that all unjust powers are toppled from their thrones and enter into Christ’s own ministry. And Lord is there a lot of work to be done.
We remembered back to Egypt and the manna – the what is it – that God sent to the children of Israel when they needed sustenance to fulfill God’s work. So we learned that if we are about the work of God’s Kingdom, God will provide the opportunities we need to see our daily needs met. God does this partially through one another.
We learned that indeed all three – debts, trespasses, and sins – are accurate, so it’s really whatever makes you comfy . We found out that we have to be good at math, too, because we are to forgive everyone seventy-times-seven times. God’s never-deserved forgiveness is there waiting even before we ask for it. God invites us to treat one another with the same tenderness with which Christ welcomes us so that we can move life forward.
Then we got into the rough stuff. We talked about temptation, or literally, the time of trial – those challenges that test everything we’ve understood. And how we have the choice to react by only thinking of ourselves or to respond to these temptations as we do all things as disciples. Remember, if sin is breaking relationships, and temptation is simply a fact of life, then we are called to examine all temptations through the same lens that we use for all of life. That is the love of Christ. Then we will be guided in the correct direction.
Finally, we talked about our prayer that God would deliver us from evil. We considered that people can never truly be evil because they are made in the image of God. However, actions, words, and thoughts certainly can. And it can appear that someone has been completely taken over by it. But the way we begin to fight the systems of our world that have been taken over by evil is to quell the evil that bubbles up from within our fallen selves. Seeing how we are part of the problem is the first step to becoming a part of the solution.
So there you have it. The Lord’s Prayer. All that is left is this lovely little tidbit added on by Reformers back several centuries ago: for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.
Jesus never actually said this.
It is called a doxology – which literally means speaking praise or glory. The phrasing actually comes from the book of Daniel, when the great Israelite is speaking to the most powerful king in the world, Nebuchadnezzar. He says, “You, O king, the king of kings – to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory…”
So why do we say it? Because at the end of the day, we worship the true King of kings, Lord of Lords – God most high who is sovereign. It is important to remind ourselves of that to keep our world, our problems, our challenges, and especially our leaders in perspective.
The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that God is always actively present in our world, transforming it – through us. We are to ask, seek, knock until we see the Reign of God all around us.
That Kingdom looks like everyone having enough resources, the brokenhearted finding comfort, the sick healed, and everyone – no exceptions – being welcomed.
We are to fight the evil that lurks in our systems and in our own hearts. We are to fight with our only weapon that can truly fulfill God’s will: love.
And we are to face every decision, great or small, through the viewpoint of the love of Christ, who will guide us into a life that is true to the real Gospel.
When the road gets dark and the night seems close at hand, remember that God is always, always with us.