Can you guess what series the pastor concluded yesterday? Although some ancient manuscripts lack this closing in Matthew 6, a benediction typically ended the Jewish prayers of Jesus’ day. To hear a series that investigates, phrase by phrase, the prayer model Jesus gave his disciples reminds us to pray with brains engaged. In days of uncertainty, upheaval, and fear, my heart soars when I think about God’s kingdom, power and glory.
The kingdom is His alone; He rules as the sole sovereign; nothing and no one else have sovereignty. Actually, sovereignty poses a real stumbling block for us as Americans. Even as believers in Christ, we have that “pull yourself up by your own boot straps” mentality somewhere in our minds. Yet Colossians 1:13-15 says, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves, in whom we have redemption,£ the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
While I can read these verses, I can have severe memory loss about kingdom living some days. So I ask God to remind me that nothing threatens his kingdom because of God’s power.
The Greek word for power used here gives us our English word for dynamite. Before we start thinking about Fiona’s explosions as seen in “Burn Notice,” think about the place to find God’s power. Visible in the church that depends on the Scripture, this power changes the very hearts of people. In the 1800s, Charles Spurgeon issued a statement timely for today. He said that the church is here to proclaim the gospel, not to entertain. The apostle Paul wrote “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
That brings us to the third word of this benediction, glory. Unless your grandmother said, “Glory be,” this word does not find its way into your vocabulary or thinking. Yet when Dave and I took a ride through our area on the ATV, words other than glory would not suffice. In Psalm 19:1, the psalmist says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” And in this season of sapphire skies and bronzing leaves, we can glimpse God’s glory. But beyond the sterling qualities of the physical world, we see that another glory goes to God for the work he does in us. Paul, writing in 2 Cor says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect£ the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” What more can be said than “Amen”?