Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

Friday, 22 July 2011

Your Kingdom Come - Your will be done

Attended two fascinating things this week which have come together in my mind to bring inspiration.  The first I've already mentioned on here - study day about prayer with Dr Paula Gooder.  We focused on the Lord's Prayer, looking at where it appears in the Gospels, how it's been tweaked in liturgy, what the tweakings do to the meaning of the prayer and trying to get to the bottom of what Jesus was on about.

The thing which has stuck most in my mind is the sense that this is not a simple or easy prayer, it speaks of end times, of the coming of the Kingdom, and one of Paula's conclusions was that we should have thought very hard about all that, what we think it means and what we believe, before we casually rattle through this so familiar prayer.

Then  last night I had the pleasure of welcoming Stephen Sizer to speak at the Minster where I work. At the invitation of the Friends of Sabeel (Sabeel being the Ecumenical Centre for Liberation Theology in Jerusalem) Stephen had come to speak to us about Christian Zionism.  It was stimulating to hear Stephen very clearly make his points about different strands of Christian Zionism, their political impact, and their impact on the ground. We're talking about unsound theology and flawed biblical interpretation perpetuating conflict in the Holy Land and standing in the way of any peace process.  It was fascinating and having heard him speak I would recommend any of Stephen's books on the subject - find them on Amazon.

It took me back to Paula's words earlier in the week because the apocalyptic strand of Christian Zionism has a very clear vision of what praying for and working for the coming of the Kingdom means.  I was left with the sense, as I so often am, that those of us with more moderate views are making ourselves complicit in oppression and injustice because we don't speak up enough.  Stephen quoted Desmond Tutu's words about the apartheid in Israel/Palestine - the suggestion being that we need to take the kind of action against the Israeli state that we took against  South Africa to change things there.

Overall I was left with the sense that we're not very eschatologically switched on in mainstream Anglicanism.  When we pray for the Kingdom to come as Paula suggested we really need to have thought through what that means, because it could and should affect everything we do. Otherwise we are hijacked in public perception and private inaction by those whose vision of Kingdom involves death and war, oppression, injustice and hate.  I will keep voting and praying for the Kingdom of peace, love, justice and reconciliation.


Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts. I think that we need to invest in cultivating theological depth in our communities. The Lord's Prayer is a revolutionary prayer. It speaks on some levels of Jesus showing how easy it is to pray. Yet with the ease at which he shows the disciples how to pray he throws some theological handgrenades in.

"Forgive us our sins *as we forgive* those who sin against us"

Don't know how good you are atthe forgiving others clause within the prayer.

Back to your point. There are many areas of our theology that our communities know little of. A good working knowledge of eschatology is liberating as it gives purpose to our mission. What does it mean to pray "your kingdom come, your will be done" here and now in your town, your school, your hospital, your health centre...

Once we abandon the misreading of which you speak and return to the question "what happens if God rules here?" we can actually see that place unfold.

I guess this is what I was trying to get at with my blog on "The Dead Church".

Anonymous said...

I'm learning! Always copy your comment to the clipboard when using a blogger blog with an opened!!