“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.” (Matthew 6:10)
You are living in some kind of Kingdom. Stop and think about that, and ask yourself, “What is my kingdom like? What motivates me? What gets me up in the morning?” If you could describe your life in a word or two, what would it be? “Worry?” “Money?” “Family?” “Faith?” “Anger?” “Fear?”
Speaking of fear, I lived in that Kingdom not too long ago. I kept thinking about the dangers of life today on this planet. Things like the threat of nuclear bombs, global warming (we spray billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year), the melting of ice caps and rising seas, and the coastal cities like New Orleans going under water, and the way the Saints lost the playoff game to the Rams. Finally, I had to say to myself, “Whoa, back up! Stop this foolishness.” Worrying about all the possibilities can’t be the solution to anything. So, I talked to myself like there was another of me walking around and I gave myself a “come to Jesus” sermon. Then, I prayed that I would do like that prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr I’ve quoted to others so many times: “Lord, help me to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Since then, things have been a little different. I can’t say that I’ve quit worrying altogether. Maybe I should say that I am still concerned about these dangers, and I am still angry about the “No-Call Referee”, but I am not obsessing about them. I think about that hymn that says: “This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget, that tho’ the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”
Most evenings, after I have read awhile, I watch old movies. Recently, I saw John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in “The Quiet Man”, filmed in Ireland in the fifties (I think). The scenery was absolutely beautiful and it showed places I recognized in Ireland and I felt so peaceful. If this is hiding your head in the sand, then, so be it. I think I’ve earned a little serenity in my sunset years.
Jesus prayed: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done.” I believe He was saying that the Kingdom was here. It is now. He goes one to say in the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in Matthew 5, 6, and 7 that, “Blessed (or happy) are those” who do certain things. In Matthew 5: “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called children of God.” And, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” And, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” These things happen here and now, not in some distant future.
So folks, It’s a matter of choice. You can choose to live today in the Kingdom of God, or some other Kingdom. When you stop and think about it, that’s exciting! I don’t have to go around with wrinkled brow and worry lines in my face. I can show mercy and have a gentle spirit and forgive and laugh and love and treat others like I want to be treated. And that’s what Jesus meant when he said: “You are the light of the world, don’t hide it…choose to let it shine through you.” Maybe those are not his exact words, but that’s what he meant. And I can even forgive that “Ram” Referee, even if I can’t forget. Amen. And now, let the ushers come forward.