By John Dunnett
Welcome to Kingdom Come!
That sounds strange, doesn’t it? Who would want to be welcomed to Kingdom Come? Yet here we are and I am welcoming you to Kingdom Come. In order to understand the welcome you have to know what is meant by Kingdom Come.
A look on line will reveal two definitions – the passing into eternity or the end of time. Passing into eternity like in the cartoon phrase “I’ll blast you into kingdom come.” End of time like the phrase “you can complain until kingdom come but it won’t change anything.”
While these are the two most popular uses of the phrase Kingdom Come, they miss the great invitation of the original uses of the phrase and distort its meaning. I want to take you back to the place where the phrase entered human consciousness and invite you to see the great welcome to Kingdom Come.
Like many people my age or older we grew up in an Atlantic Canadian context where the “Lord’s Prayer” was a standard part of our childhood learning. By rote many of us learned the words from Matthew 6:9-13 from the old English of the King James Bible.
9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
There it is right in verse 10. “thy Kingdom come” and the rest of the thought “Thy will be done in earth as it is heaven.”
It was Jesus who introduced the idea of Kingdom come into the human consciousness. He did this in a model prayer inviting all who would hear him to pray that God’s Kingdom would come so His will would be done on earth. In fact, the beginning of Jesus’ teaching was the good news that the “Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17)
Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God was the realm in which our heart and mind are surrendered to God’s loving authority and we live with a tangible reality of that here on earth. His greatest body of teaching on the values of the kingdom are found in a scripture known as the Sermon on the Mount. It is found in the Gospel of Matthew in chapters 5, 6 and 7. I want to invite you first to read about the Kingdom of heaven in these three short chapters. This is not some “pie in the sky” idea but it is a pattern for living designed for the here and now. It seems odd at first but it is the way we secretly long to live. It is the way we were originally created to live.
Kingdom Come is a pattern for living that is powered by the spiritual work of forgiveness and transformation that was set loose through the death and resurrection of Jesus. You enter the Kingdom by accepting that you need the forgiveness and power to change that Jesus offers. You live in the kingdom by the power of the Spirit of Jesus that was introduced to the world at Pentecost. We are headed towards a spiritually significant time of the year. Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost are great times to respond to the good news of Jesus and actually begin to live in “Kingdom Come.”
So welcome! Welcome to Kingdom Come! It’s a great place to live.
John Dunnett is pastor of First Baptist Church in New Glasgow.