From Pastor Tom Oosterhuis / Renita Reed Thomson
Instead of writing my own reflection this week, I am copying, with permission, a commentary by Renita Reed Thomson, from Discipling Marketplace Leaders. I have been receiving her mission letters since the time that I served on the Board for Christian Reformed World Missions. Renita has long represented the work of The Christian Reformed Church in bringing a Christian vision to doing business in Africa. We have recently taken up offerings for her work in our own congregation. I also discovered, in asking her for permission to print this article, that she is the sister of our pastor. Tom Oosterhuis
How often have you prayed the words from the Lord’s Prayer, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”? I have prayed those words often but I have to admit that up until recently I saw those words more about God’s work than my own. After all, what do I know about heaven? I haven’t been there. And do I really know God’s will?
But, as is the case with much relating to prayer, God’s answer comes most of the time through His people. God created humanity to be the answer – the fulfillment – of the capacity of the earth He created. He created humanity to be co-creators in bringing about the ability for all to flourish: all humanity, all creatures, all of creation. So while I pray this prayer, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I need to ask myself what I am doing each day to bring a piece of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth – at least a little bit more than there was yesterday.
Earth is not a waiting room for heaven. John Ortberg said this, “Many people think our job is to get my afterlife destination taken care of, then tread water till we all get ejected and God comes back and torches this place. But Jesus never told anybody – neither his disciples nor us – to pray, ‘Get me out of here so I can go up there.” His prayer was, ‘Make up there come down here. Make things down here run the way they do up there.'”
We get a few hints of what “up there” looks like from Scripture. Genesis 1 and 2 is an example of how it was before sin entered in. Humanity was to work and care for the garden. Revelation 22 tells us that while we started in a garden, we will end in a city. Isaiah 65 describes the new heavens and new earth as a place where we will build and plant. We will work, but it will be without the struggle of sin. Our relationship with work and creation will be repaired. So we can have a pretty good idea of what God’s will is and what the Kingdom of Heaven could look like on earth. We will all be serving the one and only Sovereign King. And the new earth will include the making and managing of cities (the reward of the parable of talents and minas). So it’s not that foreign after all to us – it’s within our imagination and experience.
This is not a prayer to opt out of this earth. It is a prayer to opt in to making it happen on earth.
It is a macro prayer and a micro prayer. We need to scale it up to the big picture of heaven on earth, and then scale it down to my specific part in fulfilling that. Where am I to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth? At my work? At home? In my community? With my friends/family?
Wherever we are, as followers of Jesus, we seek to bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Lord, help us to recognize that when we treasure your kingdom, we’re one step closer to you, the King.
Lord, we seek your kingdom throughout every sphere. We long for heaven’s demonstration here – and we picture the different “here’s” where we’ll find ourselves this week.
Jesus, may your light shine bright for all to see. Lord, transform, revive, and heal society.
We pray ‘your kingdom come, Lord.’ So that your sovereign rule will come now, more tomorrow than today, starting with me, increasing in number and quality and in the future in its fullness and permanence with Christ’s return. Amen. (Prayer taken from LICC.org.uk)