FAITH IN FOCUS: A TALE OF THREE KINGDOMS
We use the word kingdom quite a lot in our liturgy. At every Mass we pray the Lord’s Prayer asking, “Thy kingdom come”. We acclaim God by saying, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever”. And we ask for “the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever”.
The first words Jesus speaks in St Mark’s gospel are “The time has come and the kingdom of God is close at hand”. On one level the kingdom is past. Christ came to establish the kingdom of God and so it already exists. What sort of kingdom did he set up?
Some people thought it might be a political kingdom to overthrow the Roman occupiers, but Jesus said the citizens of the kingdom would be the poor, the gentle and the persecuted. Do we really want “Thy kingdom come” if this is what it means?So if the kingdom has already been set up, then it must also be present somewhere today. If we live in it, then how should we behave? When we pray “Thy kingdom come” we are telling God that we want to live under the reign of Christ the King. Do we let Christ into our lives or is he someone we have heard about but who doesn’t impinge on our daily existence. St Paul says that today is the day of salvation.
Do we try to make our todays conform with the kingdom or do we separate our daily lives from our religious beliefs? Do the values of God’s kingdom feature in my life, my family, my job? Who’s in charge of my life, who’s the king?
“Thy kingdom come”? Christ the King is not someone dead and buried. He is the Risen Lord and he leads us on to discover even more of the joys of the kingdom that he has established here on earth. He promises never to abandon us and to be with us always. Christ is king of our tomorrows and shows us the way to fullness of life, on both sides of the grave. So his kingdom is also a future reality and that’s why we pray for the peace and unity of the kingdom where God now lives.
The Father showed his great love for us by sending his Son. Christ himself now walks by our side. God waits for us in all our tomorrows. Past, present and future: a tale of three kingdoms that are really one.