In Lawrenceville, as it is in Heaven

September 2013 Jason Article Option 2When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, the petition “on earth as it is in heaven” is a request for the in-breaking of God’s rule. That which is experienced in God’s heavenly rule comes down to earth to be experienced in the here and now. It is an invitation for God to bring his righteousness down to earth.

We often think of this petition in general terms, that “thy kingdom come, on earth…” is a global prayer, for God to act in far-off places, such as where there are wars or starvation. But the request is more than just God’s acting “out there”. We pray for his kingdom to come down to us. As Martin Luther wrote about the Lord’s Prayer in his Small Catechism, The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also.

In Lawrenceville?
God’s kingdom comes to us on earth into specific places. Our church is located in Lawrenceville. In this sense, we could pray the Lord’s Prayer “in Lawrenceville as it is in heaven”. I believe God put this church here in this time and place to build God’s kingdom. Certainly there are people who are a part of our congregation who don’t live in Lawrenceville. They are a gift to us, a blessing. Everyone is welcome here. But we are at 3305 Lawrenceville Highway, we have a building here, it is missionary outpost in Gwinnett County, a place where grace touches and transforms lives.

But what exactly is God’s Kingdom?
We often think of kingdoms as places, a territories over which kings rule. God’s kingdom is similar to that in the sense that God’s kingdom is in heaven. But reading the Gospels we see that Jesus didn’t describe God’s kingdom as a place, but more as an activity. Jesus sought to teach and show God’s kingdom to his disciples. He’d say “The kingdom of God is like…” *. Then he would send the disciples out to proclaim God’s kingdom. The disciples were sent out so that others would experience God’s kingdom, expanding it further. We could look at Jesus’ entire ministry through the lens of his kingdom-talk and come up with a fairly complete summarization of the aims of Christ’s mission on earth: to bring the kingdom…on earth as it is in heaven.

A careful reading of the gospels leads us to conclude that promoting God’s kingdom is central to the work of Jesus’ followers. But traditionally we don’t think in such terms. We think heaven is a place far away, that God’s kingdom comes to earth generally speaking, through feelings of love and goodwill, but not necessarily in the here-and-now, and likely not something we consider ourselves instrumental in bringing to earth.

This fall we will consider Jesus’s kingdom-talk: What did Jesus say about the kingdom? What does kingdom-activity look like? What does Jesus’s down-to-earth approach to the kingdom mean for us as a congregation?

More questions to consider:
As we begin to talk about God’s kingdom, I’d like you to take a moment and reflect on these questions:
When have you experienced God’s kingdom. In worship? When outside of worship?
In what ways can we say “Amazing Grace” identifiable with God’s kingdom?
How can God’s kingdom be brought to Amazing Grace’s neighborhood?

These questions will be considered in worship this Fall in our sermon series, named “In Lawrenceville, as it is in Heaven”.  We are a church called to promote God’s kingdom, and getting a better grasp of what Jesus’ kingdom look like will help us in bringing it to Lawrenceville. I look forward to going through this series with you.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jason Talsness

*a banquet, a mustard seed, a treasure, a pearl, leaven, sprouting seeds and more.


Posted September 3, 2013 by Amazing Grace Lutheran Church | Pastors Corner | Permalink |