The Kingdom Matthew 6:10

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Matthew 6:9-10

"Thy kingdom come."

What is a kingdom? It is a society of men living in an orderly manner a common life under one head or ruler. The Kingdom of God is this, but more. For human rule is over men only, speaking generally; the rule of God is over all created things. Thus the Kingdom of God is an orderly constitution of all things visible and invisible, inanimate, animate and spiritual, each in its own place fulfilling the Divine will.

1. Now this idea of the Kingdom is taken for granted when we pray "Thy kingdom come." The necessity for this prayer arises only because the rule of God in the world has been - not indeed banished, but - obscured. So that from the point of view of sinful, alienated man, the Kingdom of God, His manifested rule, must be treated as an absent thing to be desired and invoked.

2. This is by no means to be limited to the desire that God's sovereignty should be established over our hearts. The prayer is put into the mouth of disciples, who have already surrendered their hearts and wills to God. "Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom"; and the Kingdom of God is only Christ's name for the blessings of the gospel. Therefore this petition means: Let thy gospel have world-wide supremacy, and the conceptions of God and of life which it teaches govern everywhere. It means that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ, through the acceptance and application of Christian teachings; and that the name of God which is to be hallowed is that revealed by Jesus Christ.

I am prepared to adopt the following declaration: "The coming of the kingdom would mean the death of flunkeyism and toadyism in the personal life, the death of mammon in the social life, and the death of jingoism in the national life." I venture to think that it would banish from our social life all strife, all envy, all slander. It forbids Christian people to follow unchristian fashions. It makes the pride and stand-offishness of some Christians towards their fellow-members positively ridiculous. It bids us be courteous, kindly affectioned, pitiful, given to hospitality, charitable. The same consecrating hand laid upon our commercial life will prevent the fierce competition which chokes the life out of the weak and exalts the strong; a heartless rejection of a good servant because a few shillings a week can be saved by giving the post to a boy: a recognition of a moral code differing fundamentally from Jesus Christ's moral code. Business men will give a helping hand to fallen brothers who are trying to recover themselves; they will scorn to ask their young clerks to make untrue statements about goods. Workmen will lose their passion for strikes. Christian people - certainly Christian ministers - will be ashamed to take shares in a brewery "because it pays," or to demand a larger dividend from any company without enquiring what the effect may be on the employees. In civic and political life we shall refuse to allow large vested interests to occupy the seat of authority and to shape legislation for their own advantage. When the Kingdom comes, no Parliament would allow the children's charter - a Bill for preventing the sale of intoxicants to young children, a Bill the necessity for which was recognized by everybody - to be flung to the brewers and publicans for them to tear and trample upon. Indeed, we might go a step farther back, and say that when the Kingdom comes there will be no liquor traffic on lines that bear any comparison with that which shocks and mocks and murders us to-day. And in our national life when this prayer is prayed earnestly, we shall distinguish between the shoddy patriotism which is only a masked pagan vice, which desires to exalt British interests by any means warlike or not at the expense of other people, and that truer patriotism which is a Christian virtue, which longs to make one's own nation good, that it may be blessed of God and become a means of blessing to the world. You may easily quarrel with my provisional programme of Christian life, but you cannot be a true follower of Christ if you do not pray and labour for the coming of the Kingdom of our Father, through the spread of the Christian religion and the supremacy of the teaching of Jesus.1 [Note: J. E. Roberts, Studies in the Lord's Prayer, 29.]

Father, let Thy kingdom come, -
Let it come with living power;
Speak at length the final word,
Usher in the triumph hour.

As it came in days of old,
In the deepest hearts of men,
When Thy martyrs died for Thee,
Let it come, O God, again.

Tyrant thrones and idol shrines,
Let them from their place be hurled:
Enter on Thy better reign,
Wear the crown of this poor world.

O what long, sad years have gone,
Since Thy Church was taught this prayer!
O what eyes have watched and wept
For the dawning everywhere.

Break, triumphant day of God!
Break at last, our hearts to cheer;
Eager souls and holy songs
Wait to hail Thy dawning here.

Empires, temples, sceptres, thrones,
May they all for God be won;
And, in every human heart,

Father, let Thy kingdom come.1 [Note: John Page Hopps.]




to be continued