Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thy Kingdom Come

“Thy Kingdom come” stands at the center of the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, [1] hallowed by Thy name, [2] Thy Kingdom come, [3] Thy will be done.

What are we praying for when we pray this petition? The Catechism reminds us that “the Kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer.” God is the King of Kings whether people believe Him to be or not. He reigns whether we pray for Him to or not.

The Catechism goes on to teach that “we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.” In praying the second petition we pray that we may recognize that God comes to us with His blessings.

The natural question then would be, as the Catechism poses it: “How does God’s Kingdom come?” Its answer is: “God’s Kingdom comes when our Heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit.”

The Heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit in the Gospel and the Sacraments. This really is what Advent is all about. This ultimately is what God coming to us is all about.

“Advent” means coming. Christ will return again on the Last Day in glory to raise all the dead and take His people home to heaven with Him. His first Advent was His birth. He came then in humility, He will return again in glory. He came first to suffer on behalf of the world, He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

But Advent isn’t just about waiting around for Him to come again, knowing that He has already come the first time. Advent is about preparation. Advent is about the in between time of His First and Second Comings. What happens while we await Christ’s Return in glory?

We prepare. We receive. We rejoice in “our Heavenly Father giving us His Holy Spirit.” He comes to us in the Gospel and in the Sacraments. He does this, as the Catechism goes on to say, “so that by His grace we believe His Holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.

So when you pray the Lord’s Prayer and you come to the second petition “Thy Kingdom come” think Advent. Think Christ coming to you in His Word and Sacraments for the forgiveness of your sins, for your salvation. Think His birth, His suffering and death, His resurrection, His Return in glory—all for you, His Kingdom, coming to you.

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