A reflection for Sunday 17th May, 2020 from Gareth Lawrence, reader at St Mark’s Church
Is the world the way it should be? For Jesus the answer was “no”
This world is not the way God intended it to be. Jesus showed that clearly in the words known as “The Lord’s Prayer” which is prayed by Christians at least once a week. As you read, note the words: “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done;
On earth as it is in heaven”
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen
Those words, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” tell us that the kingdom, that is the will of God in this world, in its completeness is yet to come. What does that kingdom look like? One of the best summaries of the kingdom is a world where, “…peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits…” and where humankind, “…will bow down before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed,…”.*
If you are unable to find faith, you can still help “…peoples everywhere…” to have “… three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits…”. Many secular organizations do excellent work in both emergence relief and long-term development, and not just overseas but also in UK. If you would like to help, you can find such organizations easily via the internet.
For people of faith, even if that completeness of God’s will in this world remains to be realized, we still need to pray and work to anticipate that completeness. The New Testament book of James reminds us, “If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?”. At St Mark’s Church we try to follow James’ teaching. Our Vision Statement is, “Making Jesus Christ Visible”. We seek to do that both by our worship and by our actions in the local community. Also, through our Charity Committee we give funds to UK and international charities. Of necessity COVID 19 has caused us to put many of our actions on hold but our prayers continue.
None of us should be a passive observer of the way the world is. Under God, we can be the agents of change in this world until the completeness breaks in.
*The words of the 1960s American civil rights leader, Rev’d Dr Martin Luther King Jr on accepting the Nobel Prize for Peace – October, 1964.
Image from freely photos