You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
So many people are involved in the Church Fete, whether distributing the Parish Newsletter to tell people about it, collecting flower pots, plants and etc., for sale, manning a stall on the day or counting the takings at the end, everyone has a part to play. This expression of community effort reminds me that in the Lord’s Prayer the words, Thy Kingdom come...on earth trip easily from our tongue. Are we ready to devote the same amount of time and energy to achieve that, I wonder? Indeed, what do we mean when we ask for God’s Kingdom to come on earth?
So two questions: firstly, what would God’s Kingdom on earth look like and secondly how can its coming to earth be achieved? We can be sure that it will not look like any kingdom or state that currently exists on earth, that’s a certainty. As to how it will come, well that needs our prayers.
The foundation stone on which God’s Kingdom will be built must be LOVE. God’s Kingdom on earth will be a place of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control; where there is no more fear, poverty, violence, persecution, hatred, intolerance or hunger. A place where each and every man, woman and child is treated with equal love and respect regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation; and not treated as a pawn in some political power game. When Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it. You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:38), He made no exceptions. Neither must we. Our love must be inclusive of all people; whether you like them or not. Protecting those unable to protect themselves is central to our Christian discipleship. Equally, we are called to protect and seek justice for those who are poor and vulnerable, as well as those who are oppressed, strangers, outsiders or who may be considered marginal.
Is this a naive, unattainable pipe dream? Whilst it might seem so, it is certainly not, although making it a reality will not be an easy task. Yet as Jesus’ disciples that is what we are called to do. But no one person can achieve it alone. We must unite to work together as we do with the Church Fete. We need God’s help, but we also need each other if we are to build communities of faith. Take heart and remember that Jesus said: When two or three are gathered in my name I will grant their request Matthew 18:20 NIV. Working together as one the task becomes easier.
Let us then pray the Lord’s Prayer, and work with one another towards achieving “Thy Kingdom...on earth”. If we can even make a small progress towards that goal then: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 NIV), as Jesus’ reminds us.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years