May Editorial & Parish Magazine

Here is 'The Messenger' downloable for free: May Magazine.

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Dear brothers & sisters, 

This month marks a coronation of a king, and I’m very much looking forward to it as I am a fan of the Royal Family. However, whatever our views on our Royal Family, and monarch, a coronation gives plenty of opportunity to think about what it means to be a king. So often we pray ‘Thy kingdom come’, as part of the Lord’s Prayer, the ‘Our Father’, but I wonder whether we ever give serious thought the meaning? The person in charge of a kingdom is a king, so implied in those three words is the truth that God is a king. King Charles is the king of everyone in this land, whether they like it or not, whereas Jesus, whilst having rights of a king over everyone, offers each person a choice whether to join His kingdom.

So, what are we praying for when we pray ‘Thy kingdom come’? Well, a whole host of things, actually, including a cry that Jesus would return and make the whole world into His peaceful kingdom (something we remember explicitly in Advent). However, there is another more immediate meaning to that prayer which is far more personal. ‘Thy kingdom come’ relates directly to our hearts. As Christians we know that that our hearts are where God the Holy Spirit dwells. That is the location of His kingdom, and when we pray ‘Thy kingdom come’ we’re praying that Jesus’ kingdom, Jesus’ reign, would come more fully in our hearts. None of us are the people we should be. We all fall short of who we were made to be by God. We resist His call to fully love Him, to completely serve our neighbour, to constantly put His will above our own. As Christians our hearts are only partial places of God’s kingdom, we hold back so much of our hearts, our energies, our priorities, and give them to so many other things which don’t satisfy. ‘Thy kingdom come’ in this context, then, is a very dangerous prayer to pray, and very pertinent. Whether we know it or not we’re asking God in those three words to transform our whole hearts and make them more fully part of His kingdom. A kingdom where we love God fully, obey Him fully, and act in a way fully consistent with His kingdom.

Furthermore, praying ‘Thy kingdom come’ is praying that more people would come to follow Jesus and join His Kingdom. To recognise this an ecumenical prayer movement has been organised with the name ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ (more information at www.thykingdomcome.global). We are encouraged to pray with Christians around the world between Ascension to Pentecost (18th - 28th May this year), for more people to come to know Jesus, that God’s Kingdom would grow here on earth by more people becoming Christians.

As we have seen, ‘Thy kingdom come’ is a powerful little prayer, and I hope that considering its meaning some more helps us to rededicate ourselves to seeking to reflect the characteristics of God’s Kingdom in our hearts and in our wider communities. As we celebrate King Charles’ coronation this May, let us also be focusing on King Jesus and His kingdom, and be praying that His kingdom would come more fully in our lives and in those who don’t yet know Him.

May God bless you as you seek to serve Him,

Fr Mike