I’m a sci-fi fan, (sorry!) growing up with Star Trek and Star Wars, apologies for any purists out there concerning genre mixing! Since I was a child I’ve looked up at the sky at night and seen the stars and the planets shining their brilliance down on the Earth. I always wondered what was going on up there. Their brilliance was, and still is, truly wonderful for me. I still love looking upwards at their glory and splendour; the difference now is that I know the One who made them and knows me and loves me with a love that will take eternity to work out.
In the Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases the Lord’s Prayer and renders it as follows:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
In this portion of the prayer we are to ask that God’s will be done, that is, according to Peterson, to do “what’s best” after he has “set the world right”. In setting the world right God immediately does what’s best.
This “setting things right” and “doing what’s best” is more than merely selecting the factory reset button on your electronic device once you’ve fiddled with it and mucked it up and it no longer functions. This has to be with life itself. It’s the glorious salvation gift that God the Father has given to us in God the Son, Jesus. Mankind is broken. Our rebellion and sin have placed an impenetrable barrier between ourselves and God’s holiness brought about by our unrighteousness. We are separated from God, without hope and lost.
God’s will is to deal with that barrier, to make a way back to him, to breach that gulf. This is his plan for our salvation and restoration. This plan was in place before the very stars began to shine. God’s rescue plan changes everything. It demands a response from every one of us.
As believers and followers of Jesus we are urged to pray, for God’s Kingdom and God’s will to be done on earth, or if you like, in the here and now of our world and of our lives. God’s ways are to be acknowledged, celebrated and acted upon.
At the moment we live in this present reality that Jesus Christ, God the Son, has come in the flesh. He was born, lived, was crucified and died and rose from the grave to eternal life. He sends his Holy Spirit to enable and empower us to be overcomers in this life. And Jesus will return bringing God’s Kingdom to completion.
We carry the good news, the light of the gospel with us wherever we go. We are to show and demonstrate the will of God, as it is in heaven, to those around us. We are to prepare the ground for God’s Kingdom to come. To push against the darkness in the world, to call it out for what it is. To shine forth God’s love for the lost.
To speak out God’s judgement upon the corrupt systems of the world that fail to bring justice and compassion. We are bearers of the will of God, for salvation, not only for ourselves but for mankind and even for the created order that God loved so much.
We are subjects of this Kingdom. If you’re following Jesus today – you’re involved! You have your own salvation story to tell. It’s not just down to the Pastor! We are to engage with these words, wrestle with these words and embody these words.
Do you know that the will of God is being outworked at the moment? God’s plans and purposes are not being hindered or hampered in anyway. God’s church is being built and we are told by Jesus himself that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it (Matt 16:18). But with the simplicity of this prayer we are invited to be a part of this.
It’s reassuring to know that whilst you’re reading this article that God is in control. Heaven is not in chaos. It’s full of worship and adoration for the king. That praise will be echoed throughout God’s creation, on earth, one day. God is not a passive observer of the world’s troubles or woes. Most importantly he is interested in you and your life circumstances and has made a way like no other to give you and me life, real life. So, let’s join in with this prayer and call for God’s will to come down…