Signing On For The Kingdom
During the time of Jesus (and his teaching of the Lord’s Prayer), it was common for sons to learn the trade of their fathers – to be apprenticed in their father’s vocation – so that as they grew, they could follow in their dad’s footsteps, learn the trade, and essentially, establish their vocation in life.
As New Testament scholar and theologian, N.T. Wright, points out in his book “The Lord and His Prayer”, for Jesus to address God in prayer as “Father” implies the same thing for himself. His vocation – his calling, and direction in life – comes from his Father, which he embodies throughout his life and death.
And for us to pray “our Father,” implies the same for us as well. Here’s how he puts it:
But if we in turn are to be the messengers, we need to learn to pray this prayer. We, too, need to learn what it means to call God ‘Father’, and we mustn’t be surprised when we find ourselves startled by what it means. The one thing you can be sure of with God is that you can’t predict what he’s going to do next. That’s why calling God ‘Father’ is the great act of faith, of holy boldness, of risk. Saying ‘our father’ isn’t just the boldness, the sheer cheek, of walking into the presence of the living and almighty God and saying ‘Hi, Dad? It is the boldness, the sheer total risk, of saying quietly ‘Please may I, too, be considered an apprentice son.’ It means signing on for the Kingdom of God.
This is what Jesus meant when he gave us this prayer.
(N.T. Wright, The Lord and His Prayer – p. 8)
I love that line:
it means signing on for the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God, where wrongs are made right, and out is made in. The Kingdom of God, where the poor, the low, and the looked down upon are lifted up. The Kingdom of God, where there’s more celebration over a lost sheep coming home than over the 99 who don’t need it. The Kingdom of God, which is worth selling absolutely everything for.
The Kingdom of God, which as we’ll hear about this Sunday, we’re taught to pray makes its way first into and out of our own hearts.
Join us this Sunday at 9:30 to hear what it means to “sign on for the Kingdom” come, on earth as it is in heaven!