Friday, September 20, 2019

Understanding the Lord’s Prayer (4): Thy Kingdom Come

Thy kingdom come.
When we ask for His kingdom to come we are showing our eagerness for our unity with our father and the desire to be with Him eternally in His kingdom. We are desirous now for what Christ has promised. “Come, blessed of my father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Mt 25:34

Asking for His kingdom to come we are acknowledging God as an all powerful ruler of creation, one who reigns over all. That His kingdom is eternal. 

We pray that we be granted a life that we can see in holy persons. We are asking for a daily life that is united with our Father in heaven with the purity of heart, freed from passions, with His grace enabling us to do His will. In this way we will have a life in His kingdom.

Gregory of Nyssa says,
We pray "Let Your Kingdom come upon us" in order that the evil passions which rule and lord it over us may depart from us, and indeed vanish into nothingness.
Saint Gregory also reminds us of the way Saint Luke expressed this. He told us that he who prays for the coming of the Kingdom is calling on the Holy Spirit. Luke writes instead of "Thy Kingdom come," it is written, "Thy Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us."

Gregory of Nyssa,
Truly, let the Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us. May He make us receptive of noble thoughts worthy of God. Such thoughts are taught to us by the Lord's Prayer coming from the voice of the Savior, to whom belongs the glory forever and ever. 
Saint Theophylact suggests that this refers to the second coming, this is also the view of Saint Cyril of Alexandria.
He says,
To desire to behold Christ the Savior of all rising again upon the world. For He will come, He will come and descend as Judge, no longer in low estate like unto us, nor in the simplicity of human nature; but in glory such as befitting of God, for He dwells in unapproachable light (cf. 1 Tim. 6: 16),
Since this seems like a frightening time why would He want us to pray that this time of judgment come now? He asks us to do this so we can be prepared and motivated to live a life that will yield for us favorable judgement.

Saint Cyril says,
For He commanded them to ask in prayer that this fearful time may come, to make them know that they must live, not carelessly, nor dissolutely, nor moreover as beguiled into laxity and the love of pleasure; but, on the contrary, as becomes saints, and according to God's will: that so that this fearful time may prove the bestower upon them of crowns, and not of fire and condemnation. For it was not at all proper for the wicked and impure, who lead base and lascivious lives, guilty of every vice, in their prayers to say, "Thy kingdom come."
At the second coming we will be resurrected and become a new creation, reunited with our bodies in a life eternal where there is no suffering or death. This is what we hope for. All this is what is part of asking for His kingdom to come. We are asking to be accepted, to be purified, to be rid of sin and passions so we will be in His eternal kingdom.

References: On the Lord's Prayer Homilies on the Lord's Prayer by St. Cyril of Alexandria Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California, and Hawaii Saint Paul Brotherhood, Saint Theophylact’s commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Saint Gregory of Nyssa discourse on the Lord’s Prayer.

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