Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 9- Thy Kingdom Come

(Francis I- wishy washy king of France, going back and forth protecting and persecuting Protestants. He gave up his Protestantism to be king. Calvin dedicated the Institutes to him- he never read it.).

March 9- Second Petition- Thy Kingdom Come (Matthew 6:10)

Calvin: “God reigns where men, both by denial of themselves and by contempt of the world and of earthly life, pledge themselves to his righteousness in order to aspire to a heavenly life. Thus there are two parts to this Kingdom: first, that God by the power of his Spirit correct all the desires of the flesh which by squadrons war against him; second, that he shape all our thoughts in obedience to his rule.” (III.20.42)

For Calvin the second petition- “thy kingdom come” was not much different in content than the first petition “Hallowed be thy name.” But it is a prayer that motivates us to seek and work for the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
God reigns where people pledge themselves to his righteousness and aspire to live a heavenly life here on this earth. This comes by 1) denying our selfish desires, and 2) not loving the world so much that we cannot let go of it (contempt of the world).
There are two ways that God works to bring his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven: 1) By the Holy Spirit’s forming and gathering His church. 2) By frustrating the plans of the impious.
For Calvin this petition in our prayer motivates us in three ways:
1) Drawing us back from worldly corruption.
2) Ignites a zeal for dying to ourselves and living for God.
3) Gives us hope and instruction when we bear the crosses of life.

Christians are always citizens of another kingdom. Even though (in general) we are to be the best citizens where God has placed us, we are very aware of the limitations of the earthly kingdom and are not surprised. This spring, as the Obama administration has been getting off to a start, the corruption in government has come to light. Three nominees to cabinet positions resigned because of tax scandals. The Governor of Illinois was forced to resign for his corruption in replacing Obama’s senate seat. There have been corruptions in Republican and Democratic sides. In our state, there has been widespread publicity about $450,000 from payday lenders being put in the coffers of our legislator’s campaigns. The Payday lenders brazenly hired the last democratic candidate for governor to be a lobbyist for them after his failed campaign. Mexico is almost on the brink of civil war. The news today was that the “drug czar” of Mexico’s government was arrested for receiving $450,000 (what is it with this figure?) from the drug lords to look the other way. America is my nation, and I am a great patriot- I would die for my country and do so appreciate its freedom and its characteristics. Yet this world is not our home- we are strangers and pilgrims. Our true kingdom is yet to come, but we want to bring a little bit of this kingdom down to earth now.

Prayer: God, you are the King of kings and Lord of lords. Give us grace, strength, and protection to work for your kingdom, and make this world a better place. Amen

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