APC 25th October 2020
“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Welcome and Introduction
Good morning everyone and welcome to our Sunday morning worship. Thank you for all the encouraging comments you have sent me about last week’s Harvest service and the Midweek reflections. Today we return to our short series looking at the Lord’s Prayer. Today we will be thinking a little more about what it will mean for us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
But first let’s take a moment to pause and to talk to our heavenly Father, let’s pray…
Lord of all, we praise you for our universe with its infinite fascination, for our world with all its wonder, for our countryside and all its beauty, for life itself in all its incredible variety.
Loving God, hear our prayer,
There is so much that gives us pleasure, that offers us fulfilment, that captures our imagination, that challenges and inspires, that gives us cause to look forward with anticipation and that speaks to us of your great love.
Loving God, hear our prayer,
Forgive us for so often abusing all you have given- for spoiling your world, for failing to appreciate it as we should, for losing our childlike sense of wonder and enquiry, for treating it as ours by right rather than entrusted as your gift, for being blind to your loving hand moving behind it all.
Loving God, hear our prayer,
Open our eyes to the countless blessing and inexhaustible riches you have so freely given, and help us to show our appreciation by being faithful stewards of your creation.
Loving God, hear our prayer,
In the name of Christ, Amen.
Join me as we say the Lord’s Prayer thoughtfully and sincerely together…
Our Father, which 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,
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever, AMEN.
Introduction to Kids Video
It’s been lovely over the last few months to see so many of our children in church and to see them really listening and watching the videos we’ve shown them with great interest and producing some amazing colouring in pictures. Well, we don’t want you to be left out now that we’re back online, so starting today each Sunday we will be having a slot just for you and afterward you can print off a colouring sheet from our church website to help you remember what we’ve learned and to have some fun! So if your kids aren’t beside you right now, why not pause the recording and call them in to watch a Puppet called Douglas explain what it means to pray…And at the end of this video I’ve a few words to say to the children so don’t let them rush away. (END Part 1)
Kid’s Video Douglas Talks -
Talking to God - A Sunday School Lesson about Prayer
(BEGINNING PART 2)
Kid’s Talk Summary
Isn’t it wonderful to know that God loves us and even though he knows everything he still wants us to share everything with Him. So, don’t be afraid, even though you can’t see Him God is real. He made you and He loves you. Talk to him about everything. Tell Him how much you love Him. Say sorry when you feel bad about something. Thank Him for all the good stuff He’s given you and tell him about your day and the good things in your life and the things that you are worried about or finding difficult. Oh and don’t forget to be quiet and listen. You might just feel God speaking to you or feel Him helping you or giving you a good idea about something. I’ve put a colouring sheet on the church website about prayer for you. So if your mam or dad hasn’t printed it off yet now’s the time to gently ask them to pause this recording and go and print it for you. Hope you’ve enjoyed today. Don’t forget to tune in again next Sunday. Bye for now…
Colouring Sheet Link
Introduction to the Bible Reading
Genesis 3 v 8-20 The Fall of Humanity
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living.
Romans 8 v 18-27 Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Revelation 21 v 1-4 A New Heaven and a New Earth
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Reflection “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on
earth as it is in heaven.” (Part 2)
On Wednesday we began our reflection on the third line of the Lord’s Prayer – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We learned God’s Kingdom comes when people trust in Christ and receive the Holy Spirit. We also discovered that this phrase is an example of parallelism-the second phrase explains the first. That means, God’s Kingdom comes when people care for each other and the world like they currently do in heaven.
All of which is true and hugely positive. The problem is that when we try to match these spiritual truths with the experiences of our lives we are left with some difficult questions. That’s what I want to focus on this morning- If God’s Kingdom has already come in Jesus Christ, then why do we still experience so much frustration in our own personal lives, why do we still see so much suffering throughout the world, and what can we do about it?
We see some of the answers to these questions played out on the pages of scripture. The creation account in Genesis not only gives us a picture of how the universe came into existence, it also provides us with a framework to explain why there is so much in this world that is imperfect and painful.
The story of Adam and Eve explains that sin is like a virus that has infected the universe. So while the universe and everything in it is inherently good because it was created perfectly by God, it has been broken, tainted and damaged because of the effects of the first human couple’s attempts to despise the kindness and authority of God.
So the battles with temptation that we face and the suffering that we see in the world around us ultimately are not the fault of God. They are as a consequence of the virus of sin that has infected all of us and all of the world.
At this point someone who claims to be an atheist will say, “I can’t believe in God because I see so much suffering in the world!”
Well, let’s say for a moment God doesn’t exist. That doesn’t remove the existence of suffering. Whether God exists or not does not explain suffering. That means God can’t be blamed for its existence.
But what He could possibly be blamed for is not caring.
So for me a better question is “If God is God and is both loving and all powerful, then why doesn’t he do something about suffering? Why doesn’t He intervene and remove it? And if His Kingdom has come, why do we not see more evidence of that reality?”
The gospel of Jesus Christ gives us the answer. It provides us with the wonderful message of hope that God does care. He has promised to restore the brokenness of our world, including our relationship with Him.
Having said that, it’s important to understand that God’s plan to redeem the universe, to restore it to its former glory, is an unfolding one. Like all plans, it has a timeline. Christ coming to earth to live and die and rise again is only one part of that plan in one position of God’s timeline. The whole plan will not be completed until Christ comes to earth for the Second time.
So until that day, it is true to say that Christ’s Kingdom has come but it has not yet come in all its fullness. What we currently experience is only a little taster of what is to come. It’s a bit like having a new house built. You can have a look in the showroom to see what the finished house will be like. The experience is
good, it’s real and it’s exciting. But it’s just a foretaste. You’ll have many more of those experiences as your own house is built. You’ll be able to watch the foundations being laid, the walls going up, the electrics being wired and the walls being painted. The day your fireplace and kitchen are installed will be really special, but as good as it will feel, none of this will compare to getting the keys and walking in to enjoy your finished home.
In a similar way we do now experience the reality of God’s Kingdom coming to earth. When we trust in Christ, God does place His Holy Spirit within us. The Holy Spirit does give us the power to change our lives for the better. At times God does answer our prayers miraculously. Yes we can experience these things as realities and sometimes they are amazing, but they are only a first taste of the perfect Kingdom that Jesus will set up when He returns.
Until then, the job isn’t finished and parts of the walls will still be broken. So until Christ returns none of us will be perfect. The influence of the world, our own human weakness and the devil will still try to trip us up. We will still struggle every day and in every way to become more like how God wants us to be. Some days we will feel we’ve taken 3 spiritual steps forward and other days we’ll think we’ve taken two steps back.
So that’s why we need to pray this prayer. We need to pray that God’s Kingdom will come in the lives of our family and friends and in our own lives, because God does answer prayer and He does give us times of great joy and surprise. But, as we pray this prayer, we must try and keep a balance between two extremes. One extreme is forgetting who we are and that God’s Kingdom is come. So we don’t believe, we don’t pray, we don’t expect God to hear and answer even in ways that we cannot explain. The other extreme is that we expect too much. We expect now what is only promised in the future at the fulfilment of the Coming of the Kingdom. So we become disillusioned when people we pray for aren’t healed. We get angry when God doesn’t provide for us in ways that we expect. We get frustrated when our prayers aren’t answered miraculously as we had hoped and believed.
Therefore when we pray it must always be with the humility, “Let not my will but Thine be done.” We must remember that until Christ returns, God’s rebuilding of our lives is not yet complete. There will still be times when the work seems slow or when outside forces are doing all they can to bring the project down. We must trust that God’s plan will never be stopped even when it’s hard to see it.
But what’s true for us personally is also true for the whole of creation.
For God’s plan is not only to restore us to Himself, but also to restore the entire universe to the perfection that existed at the beginning of creation. That is the hope we have in Christ. That is what the gospel is about. The fact that God came to earth in Christ Jesus 2000 years ago proves that God is a God who cares. Since Christ has returned to heaven it is our responsibility as God’s representatives on earth to do all we can to carry out his plan of rebuilding while we can. So when we pray this part of the Lord’s Prayer it is never an excuse for inaction. When we pray that God’s Kingdom may come on earth as it is in heaven, we must always be willing to be the answer to our own prayers.
That means that we must continue to search for cures for cancer, we must continue to reduce our carbon footprint and do all we can for the environment, that’s why we must champion the cause of the poor, the migrant, and those who suffer injustice, that’s why we must teach people that they need to repent and believe in Christ if they are to be reconciled to God. We do this because this is what God is like. And because His plan is to restore us to Himself and to restore this world to its former glory.
Look I don’t know why God doesn’t come now and do all this immediately. I don’t know why He doesn’t just cause the Corona Virus to burn out without the need for a vaccine. I don’t know why His plan for the redemption of the universe is only a promise and not yet a reality. I don’t know why he calls us to be part of bringing in His Kingdom when He could easily do a much better and quicker job Himself. C.S. Lewis reckons it’s because if He was to intervene now in every event of suffering we would have no freedom and life would be a practical nonsense. Some believe the delay gives more of us an opportunity to become God’s friends. I don’t know.
This side of heaven I may or may not get the answer to my prayers and my questions. But what I can be certain of is that God has promised that one day when the current heaven comes to earth and the new perfect universe is formed that we will receive a new resurrection body and we will live and enjoy the beauties of the new and transformed universe without any hint of suffering or sorrow or pain.
In the meantime it is our job to keep on praying that this perfect Kingdom will come and to do all we can to encourage people to trust in Jesus and to make this world a little more like heaven for all of its inhabitants.
Whether that means digging a hole that a village may receive fresh water, inviting someone to church so that they can hear about Jesus, giving financially so that others may get food and education or visiting someone who is sick so our comfort may speed their healing. In all these ways and many more, God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.
So let me conclude…
When we pray, “May your Kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are echoing the prayer of many Jews throughout the centuries who longed to be living when the Messiah would come.
When we pray this prayer, we are asking the ascended Christ to send His Holy Spirit into the lives of other people.
When we pray this prayer, we are asking God to help ourselves and other people to live more and more like Jesus.
When we pray this prayer, we must be remember we live in the era of the ‘now but not yet’. We must not expect too much or too little from God and must humbly submit to His will.
When we pray this prayer, we must be prepared to be the answer to our own prayers so that by our actions God’s Kingdom may come in the lives of others just a little bit more like it will be in heaven.
Loving God, we pray for those who are denied access to the things in life we take for granted – food and clothing, work, a basic education, proper housing, mobility, health, companionship, love, human rights, liberty, freedom of speech, justice, peace.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Prosper the efforts of all who fight for their rights, all who labour to give them help and hope.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Loving God, we pray for those who feel themselves denied access to you, separated by guilt, doubts, past mistakes or lack of faith.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
May all who seek your presence, all who ask for your forgiveness, and all who long for your love find in Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer,
In the name of Christ, Amen.
Take a moment in silence now to pray for one or two people you know who need God’s help….
We offer all these prayers in the name of Christ, Amen.
It’s been a joy and privilege to share with you again today. Thanks again for logging on. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s reflection. Please do spend some time in quiet over the next couple of days and ask yourself, what do the words, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” mean to you?
Unfortunately with the new restrictions we are unable to meet for church services for the immediate future. So for the next while I’m planning to have online reflections on Sundays and on Wednesdays to keep us encouraged and in spiritually good shape. We’ll be looking at the Lord’s Prayer and in between having the odd special service.
At the end of November we will be entering the wonderfully reflective season of Advent. This Wednesday I will be sharing a couple of ways that we can get involved in helping God’s Kingdom come in the lives of children and elderly people throughout the world as I share with you an update on the Babushka and the Team Hope Shoe Box Appeals.
Let me also encourage you for the last time to be generous in your financial support of our two chosen Harvest charities- Purple House Cancer Support and The Arklow Lifeboat. You can contribute using the church Bank details that you will find on the church website. Just remember to mark your transaction for ‘the Harvest’. Alternatively you can ring Aleida our treasurer and organise an alternative method of payment that would be more suitable for you.
So there’s lots to look forward to. So let’s keep positive and keep on tuning in.
Due to the Covid restrictions we have been unable to publically congratulate Emily on her retirement and thank her for all the years of service as our Clerk of Session. Similarly we have been unable to publicly thank Brian for all his years of service as an elder as he steps back from that role too. So in the meantime on your behalf our new Clerk Edna Crammond and myself presented Emily and Brian with a beautiful plant for their garden, appropriately named ‘the Burning Bush’, and a beautiful set of tables for their dining room. Pictures of these are on the church website and can also be viewed for a few moments at the end of this service.
But for now, let me lead you in a Benediction after which I invite you as always, to say the grace together…
Living God, we have come to you to seek your help offer our worship and declare our faith. Now we go for you to work for your Kingdom proclaim your love and make known the good news of Jesus Christ. Go with us and grant us grace to serve you even as through Him you have served us…And
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and for evermore, Amen.”
Click the link below to download pictures for the children to colour in
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.