FROM THE PUBLISHER
ALIVE Magazine, Dec 2001/Jan 2002
We are fast drawing to the end of another year. In the last 12 months we’ve seen numerous corporate collapses, a sluggish economy, terrorist attacks in the USA, and Australia joining the ‘war’ against terrorism.
The year 2001 has not been a particularly good one. Yet there are positives to come out of it. In particular, the events of the year have led Christians across the world to join in prayer.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as in heaven”. What Jesus taught was not a pious plea offered in the hope that someday, somehow it might be answered and achieved. It’s rather more provocative. In fact, in the original Greek it is a command. That is, it is an instruction to the hearer to carry out or perform a certain action.
The idea of instructing God to do anything no doubt offends you in much the same way it does me. Yet that’s what Jesus taught the disciples to do. “Your kingdom come!”
It is easy for Christians to slip into living as though God’s only intention is to rescue us from this world so that one day he can whisk us away from all this mess to be with him in eternal bliss in heaven. Yet when asked to teach his disciples to pray, Jesus gave no hint of this at all. He taught them to ask, not that they would be taken from earth to be with him in heaven, but that heaven, where his rule operates fully, would come to earth.
Since Jesus first taught this prayer, it has been prayed around the world millions of times by millions of people. Each time, it is an instruction for the rule of God to be brought to this planet. Each time, God is pleased and continues the process of answering our prayer.
At Christmas we stop to celebrate the incredible reality of the creator humbly joining his creation as a fellow creature. Why did God do it? Because he loves his world. The incarnation is evidence of God’s love for his world. But more than that, it is both the clearest picture of what his kingdom looks like and the means by which his kingdom comes.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus in year 2001, it is right for us to stop and contemplate what a different year 2002 will be if we see less of our own agendas and more of God’s rule on earth. If this is our desire then let us pray together the prayer Jesus taught us, “Our Father . . .”
Publisher on behalf of the ALIVE team
Dec 2001/Jan 2002