Revd Louise Williams shares her occasional thoughts with us.
I’ve just come in from the garden having had the first good dig of the year! It was good to be outside pulling up weeds, seeing how the spring flowers are busy growing and flowering. There were plenty of worms and grubs of various sorts. The birds were singing and it was all very lovely.
But, of course life isn’t always like that. And many people are not enjoying the season. Some are trying to reconstruct their lives following an extreme weather event. Some are still trying to work out what the coming weeks will bring in respect of our relationship with the European Union. Others are grieving the loss of loved ones in acts of terror and violence. All is not well with the world.
Every day we say our prayers and many of us use the Lord’s Prayer. Words taught by Jesus to his followers. Jesus had shown them the love and blessing of God but they weren’t stupid, they could see the world isn’t as it should be. And so, like them, we say the line, ‘Thy Kingdom come’. And maybe it’s so familiar to us that we lose the impact.
When we ask our Heavenly Father to bring in his Kingdom we are longing for a new and better time: a time where there is justice, peace and compassion in every human heart. We are asking that God’s priorities may be seen on earth, and not our own selfish desires.
In the next few weeks, we will remember the trial, torture and execution of a very good man. Indeed, I believe Jesus was the only person who has ever lived in complete obedience to the ways of God. A man who experienced what so many in our world continue to suffer…rejection, abuse, pain and violence. In our prayers and worship we will recognise the brokenness and pain of the world. We will recall the desolation felt by those who sense themselves to be separated from the love of God. On Good Friday we will bring all of that to the foot of the cross and recognise that in some way that is frankly, beyond my understanding, Jesus held that pain and sorrow in himself.
The notice on the cross read ‘Jesus, the King of the Jews’. And yet we don’t expect to see a King enthroned on an instrument of execution. Surely at the foot of the cross, Jesus’ mother must have been praying ‘Thy Kingdom come’?
On Easter Day we believe that Kingdom broke through in a new and never to be forgotten way. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ we see the Kingdom of God coming. In that mysterious, glorious, unbelievable (almost!) event, we glimpse what the world is like when God’s Kingdom comes. We see death defeated and pain transformed. We see Mary Magdalene weeping in the garden for sorrow and her tears turned to joy in the presence of the risen Jesus. We see fear and despair transformed into hope and faith. All of these are glimpses of the Kingdom of God.
Yet still we pray every day, ‘Thy Kingdom come’. Wonderfully, we live after the resurrection and it makes all the difference to us. But truthfully we see that not everyone experiences of enjoys that hope that brings. We still pray for God’s ways and new life and kindness to be lived out on earth. The Kingdom for which we pray is glimpsed in acts of kindness and mercy, in moments of reconciliation, when we see courage and find healing and forgiveness. These are signs of the resurrection life, the Kingdom of God.
But, we’re not there yet. And maybe as people of faith, our task is to keep praying and not lose hope. Life can feel dark and grim; the world can feel hard and full of hate. Yet, just as Winter turns to Spring and night turns to day, so we trust in the resurrection. We pray for the Kingdom to come. And we keep on loving and believing.
This Eastertide, may you find forgiveness and healing at the foot of the cross.
And may God give you hope and joy in the resurrection of Jesus.