Growing up in the Churches of Christ and then being educated in one of our colleges I was consistently taught never to include in my prayers a phrase Jesus included in one of his. Thy kingdom come I was instructed could simply not be acceptable prayer language because it had already in fact come- on Acts 2 at the establishment of the church. Jesus could pray it, my teachers reasoned, because he lived before this event occurred. After that particular Pentecost it became irrelevant, so we could pray the rest of the prayer- just not that part.
In retrospect I really don’t know if I actually ever embraced this idea, but I am positive I do not now. The kingdom of God is eternal, vast and while including the church, is much more than just it and I believe will not be fully realized by us until Jesus returns and then presents it to the Father. (1st Corinthians 15:24) So I can still pray thy kingdom come and yearn to be a part of it in its fullest sense.
But that is not the point of this post.
The kingdom presents a much broader challenge to me. Part of that challenge is illustrated in my post on Should We Fight? and the continuing dialogue it has generated. Does the kingdom of God, clearly proclaimed by Christ as from another place call me to more of a radical lifestyle then I have been willing to acknowledge? Has my willing entanglement into our culture of comfort diverted me away from true kingdom thinking?
When I consider the extreme challenge of the Sermon on the Mount and the powerful example of Christ and his early disciples, I wonder. I am haunted by the deeper meaning of seek first his kingdom as I carefully map out the calendar of my life.
Maybe I am alone in these kingdom concerns, but I cannot help but think as I interact daily with others in this kingdom that seldom does it seem that kingdom priorities are guiding our lives.
Jesus once met a young man who from all accounts was very pious but also very rich. Seeking approval and acceptance from the Christ, he asked if there was anything lacking in his spirituality. Being able to discern the heart, Jesus shocked him by instructing him to sell all of his many possessions and give that money to care for the poor. The young man could not. (See Matthew 19:16-30) He failed his kingdom test.
I pray to the God of heaven that I am not failing mine.