Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
To most of you this is going to come across as weird, maybe even unbelievable. I’m ok with that. Regardless, I want you to consider what I’ve learned about Kingdoms from a story I love to tell when I can, because it’s my story.
My direct family line has traced its origin story, as of my son Keegan, for 35 generations. This is possible because, as luck would have it, my forefathers were for the most part the eldest sons of a family that has been documented within various dominant cultures for well over a thousand years. Since AD 967, my people wrote stuff down. In each generation we know, at the very least, who the mom and dad were, how many kids they had and even where they lived. They immigrated from Scandinavia to Normandy France as Viking raiders, to central England as nobles, to New England as Puritan colonists, and finally to the Midwest of America as farmers. They were eyewitnesses to the development of Kingdoms from the Baltic Sea to the Great Lakes. And, while that gives you some provenance and some context, it’s not my point. The title of this reflection is “Thy Kingdom Come,” and that’s what I want to talk about.
Kingdoms are defined as a group of people that share a culture and a ruler. Families, then, are unique and personal little kingdoms. Families have a culture and a ruler and have many decisions to make, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. Individual families are part of a regional kingdom that is ultimately part of a world wide kingdom of humanity. And little old you is the “tip of the spear,” so to speak.
My family has not always done the right thing; not by a long shot. At some point–and I can put my finger on the generation when this started happening–we took to raiding our neighbors in northern Europe and displacing existing cultures with our own. This raider/conqueror mentality was the dominant ethos of my family’s culture for over 600 years. We slashed our way across western Europe to Britain until we ran afoul of the Church of England. At that point, we got a taste of our own medicine. So we became Puritans, hopped a ship to North America and never looked back. (Today I can take you to the exact house where that ancestor lived. It’s on the national historic register as one of the oldest houses in colonial America still standing).
After roughly 600 years, we finally were forced to come to grips with the difference between our manmade kingdom efforts and the “Godly Kingdom ” that Jesus had proposed a thousand years prior. It’s as though we had only paid lip service to ”Thy Kingdom” up to that point. It’s pretty sad when you think about it, but it’s also the typical human drama in a lot of ways.
It took forever for my ancestors to finally get Jesus’ point. He wanted us to know that the things we humans typically value, if left to our own devices, are not at all important when compared to God’s values. It boils down to this: you can either chase this idea of a personal kingdom, like my family set out to do for generations, or try to seriously submit to the wisdom and power of the one true King. One is productive and doable; the other bears little fruit in the end. And, it all starts with a prayer.
“Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
As jam packed as “The Lord’s Prayer” is with ideas, you would have thought that after a thousand years and 35 generations we could get it right. In all honesty, I have to say the prayer every time I have a critical decision, just like my Puritan ancestors probably did. I know for a fact that my family line prays the prayer a lot. We have learned from experience that to go back to the old ways would mean moral and ethical disaster for our family, so we bow our heads and seek His guidance. We do things a bit differently today and I hope that’s because we are looking for something different than we once were. Today we are looking for a spiritual home that only God can provide. His kingdom needs to come, and we want to hitch our wagon to that. My prayer is that you will let this reality wash over you, seek really wise council, and embrace the generational impact seeking God’s Kingdom first can hold for your family.
Thank you for bringing Your Kingdom to earth through the birth of your son, Jesus. Help me be aware of the kingdoms I am building. I want to be fully integrated to your way of living, your wisdom, and your kingdom. Lead me and grant me the courage to follow.
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