Last week I posted a prayer God May Your Kingdom Come and commented that Jesus reminds us to pray daily for the coming of God’s kingdom. Yet many of us do not have a clear vision of what this means. When my husband Tom and I speak about the kingdom of God we often use the following verses from Isaiah to portray the beautiful imagery of hope and completion for which we all long: Isaiah 65: 17 – 25; Isaiah 2: 1-4; Isaiah 25: 6-9, Isaiah 35: 1-7; Isaiah 9: 2-7.
These verses are so indelibly imprinted on my mind that they have formed the basis for many of the liturgies and prayers I have written about God’s kingdom, including the prayer above. I love to read through them periodically and savour the imagery. I love to imagine what it would look like if the shalom of God really came to our world, and I love to contemplate what I can do to make it happen, not just writing poetry but getting involved in the brokenness of our world which needs to be transformed.
The kingdom of God is not some idealistic dream, it is a reality that is slowly breaking into our world and God asks us to commit our lives to bringing that dream into reality.
What is your response?
Read through Isaiah 65: 17-25. How does the imagery of this passage reflect your own view of the kingdom of God? What is one thing you plan to do this week that will further God’s kingdom vision?
The Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed is the fulfillment of the shalom vision from the Old Testament. It is a place in which all humanity, particularly the poor and excluded, in fact all creation is freed from slavery and bondage reconciled and made whole. It is a new heaven and a new earth rich with the promise of shalom, of wholeness and well-being for all and established through the mediation of Christ.
God’s vision of the restoration of shalom was obviously very much at the center of Jesus life. Throughout the gospels Jesus went about bringing glimpses of God’s shalom future into peoples lives. Time after time He led them out of the old oppressions and into new freedoms. To those enslaved by hunger, He gave the freedom of food and even envisioned the new kingdom as a great banquet. To the guilt-ridden, He announced forgiveness and release from the burden of sin. He came to lepers who had been excommunicated for their disease and freed them to come back with full acceptance into the community. He came to the women who had been overlooked and often marginalized and gave them the assurance that they were of equal importance in the eyes of God. He came to the deaf and opened ears, to the blind and gave them sight. To all human kind He offered the hope of a new life and a new world in which shalom relationships were once again at the center of life.
What is your response?
Read through Isaiah 65:17-25 again. Now listen to the video below which was inspired by these scriptures, and then sit for a few minutes imagining a world in which the shalom of God is revealed in its fulness. How does your spirit respond to these thoughts? Perhaps you would like to write your own prayer or poem? Are there other responses God is asking of you?