Reflections: June 3, 2020
Wednesday of the Week of Pentecost
By Alexander Lange
How does God's kingdom come? God's kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity. (The Small Catechism: The Lord's Prayer, Second Petition)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God is the rightful ruler of the world, but mankind rebelled against Him. Every human obeys his own desires, selfishly pursuing his own happiness. How can the Lord re-establish His Kingdom? How can He rule on earth, as He rules in heaven?
Most lords establish their kingdoms through the sword, but not our Lord. He became a man and He laid down His own life. He handed himself over to His rebellious creatures and He permitted them to execute Him. He stepped out of the grave, alive and immortal, proving that none can vanquish Him. And He spoke a word of pardon to those who abandoned Him and to those who crucified Him, proving His mercy. We murdered the rightful King…and He absolved us!
Now, heralds proclaim that message of pardon. They invite rebels to renounce their idols and acknowledge their sins. The promise is spoken: "Ask the Lord for mercy and it will be granted." The Spirit comes to us through that Good News, causing us to believe it, and thus making us citizens of heaven. The Kingdom of God doesn't spread through armies and coercion, but through a promise that can be believed. Truly, this Kingdom is not of this world!
When we pray, "Thy kingdom come," we are asking the Spirit to strengthen our faith, so that we might remain citizens of our Lord’s Kingdom forever. Furthermore, we are asking the Spirit to transfer our neighbors out of the kingdom of darkness and reconcile them to God. Finally, we are praying that our risen Lord might return quickly, so that the rebellion might be brought to an end and we might live in his presence eternally. May it be so! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Your kingdom come. Guard Your domain And Your eternal righteous reign. The Holy Ghost enrich our day With gifts attendant on our way. Break Satan's pow'r, defeat his rage; Preserve Your Church from age to age. ("Our Father, Who from Heaven Above," LSB 766, st. 3)
- Rev. Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.
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