First United Methodist Church April 10, 2022
Rev. Dr. Byron Kaiser
For THINE Is the Kingdom, Power, and Glory
Matthew 6:9-13; 1 Chronicles 29:11
Today we start our sixth and last week of our Lenten Study of the Lord’s Prayer. Why did we spend six weeks on these small utterances of Jesus? This is the only time Jesus gives us word for word what to pray. Jesus says, “pray like this.”
Thank you for coming today. If you have been invited to worship this morning, my gratitude goes out to you and the one who invited you.
Praying “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name”, we acknowledge the communal nature of our faith, and the loving care of God. We unveil ourselves before God as God unveils before us. We strive to live so that we make God’s name holy.
Praying “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” we bind our will to God’s will so that we may be the doers of the will of God here and now as we wait for the fulfillment of God’s will in the moment to come.
Praying “Give us this day our daily bread”, ties us to the present and ties our fulfillment, physically and spiritually, to our brothers’ and sisters’ welfare.
Praying “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, we acknowledge both our need for forgiveness of sins we have committed and our need to forgive others for wrongs they have done against us.
Praying “Lead us, not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”, we acknowledge the universality of temptation, and we open our hearts to God leading us.
Today, we finish the study of the Lord’s prayer by considering the final doxology we traditionally use, “for Thine is kingdom, the power, and the glory. Forever. Amen.” With these words, we return to the central focus of God’s kingdom and the pursuit of “thine, not mine.”
This concluding doxology does not appear in the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew. But it is scriptural, based on a prayer of David in 1 Chronicles 29:11, and it was added early on in Christian tradition as evidenced by its appearance in The Didache (an early Christian document).
Please pray with me,
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the hope of abundant life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Thine Is the Kingdom
This doxology recalls the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer and returns us to God’s kingdom, which is the central focus not only of this prayer but of Jesus’s life and ministry.
There’s a political element here that can cannot be avoided. By seeking God’s kingdom, God’s reign, and rule, we recognize God’s authority over and above any human government or authority.
Donald Trump did not die on the cross for anyone. Neither did Joe Biden for that matter. As Christians, we often get our priorities and loyalties mixed up. It’s fine to be patriotic. It’s fine to be dedicated to a political cause. However, we often fail to apply basic Christian principles to our beliefs about our leaders.
People tell me that God can use anyone. Yes, God can use the devil himself. However, God will not violate God’s own creation. God made each human a moral agent with free will. Therefore, God will not do anything except by consent of the person. If the person has given consent to God working in their life, they will have the fruit of the spirit manifest in their life.
For those who violated the Capital on January 6th, they may have said, “Lord, Lord,” but none of the people demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus said, Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” I am just saying. Don’t kid yourself.
When we seek the kingdom of God, I believe the first step is to allow God into our lives. If we allow God into our lives, we shall experience living by a higher moral and ethical standard. When we seek the kingdom of God, our primary pledge of allegiance is to God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Our secondary allegiance may be to flag and the United States of America. Or our secondary allegiance may be our spouse and family. Flag and country may be the third allegiance for some people.
Don’t miss understand me. Would I die for country? Yes. Would I die for family? Yes. Would I die for God? Yes. However, if my country called be to do something against God, or if my family called me to do something against God, I must stand by God – in my living and in my dying.
This is what is meant when we claim Jesus as my “Lord” and “Savior”. We get the Savior part. It’s the Lord part we set aside. I want to be saved. I don’t want to always seek God’s rule and reign. By seeking God’s rule and reign, we can avoid the temptation to many societal sins.
The great British politician and abolitionist William Wilberforce spent his entire career speaking unpleasant truths to people who were opposed to hearing them. He did so because his faith convinced him to always stand up for what he believed, no matter who opposed him.
Thine Is the Power
With this line we recognize that all power belongs to God. And what’s more, we submit our own power—that is, our talents, our ability, or skills, and our influence—to God’s purposes. Not only do we ascribe ultimate power to God, but we also give to God whatever power we have as well.
Power corrupts, as the well-known saying holds, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But in committing our power to God and God’s purposes, we avoid corruption and find that our power is used for the greatest purposes possible.
Throughout his life, the biggest criticisms faced by Japanese Christian leader Reverend Toyohiko Kagawa resulted from his uncompromising commitment to stand up for his belief in peace and non-violence. According to his reading of the Bible, every human life was sacred. The concept of killing for politics or national interest was anathema to him, a stance that made him unpopular in Japan’s militaristic culture, particularly during the lead-up to WWII.
When Japan and American entered hostilities following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kagawa’s words of peace were seen as the mark of a traitor. All one hundred thirteen of his books were banned and immediately went out of print, and a court-order was issued forbidding him from making public speeches. Through it all, however, Kagawa remained steadfast in his commitment to peace.
When the war finally ended, Kagawa regained his reputation as a national moral leader, and became a key figure in the reestablishment of peace under the terms of the American occupation.
“Only through service to others can a man bring harmony and peace to the people.” – Toyohiko Kagawa, A Seed Shall Serve (Simon)
Thine Is the Glory
When we pray “thine is the glory,” we recognize that God’s glory, not our own, is to be the primary focus of our lives. This runs contrary to so many of the messages we hear in our world. And it can challenge our pride to defer recognition for something good we have done, truly pointing to God rather than to ourselves.
But when we seek God’s glory, we commit ourselves to living in a way that honors God, as we saw in the first petition of the prayer, “hallowed be thy name.”
Having grown up in a society where holy men are often worshipped like deities, Sádhu Sundar Singh was always careful to make it clear that he was nothing more than a humble preacher of the Word of Christ. He refused to accept any disciples, or to follow the urging of his supporters that he found an order of Christian sádhus. In his effort to deflect attention away from himself, he refused even to perform baptisms for those whom he inspired to accept Christianity, referring them instead to local churches or missions. He discouraged his biographers, and in all ways, he strove to be as unobtrusive as possible, so that Christ’s work could be seen more clearly in his life, free from the distractions of his own persona.
“Why should I be proud? ...When Christ rode an ass into Jerusalem, people brought clothes and laid them upon the road. Yet the feet of our Lord did not tread on them, only the ass walked over them. Who ever heard of such honor being done to the feet of an ass? It was only because the ass carried Christ. When He had done riding the ass, the beast was of no account. So I am of no account, only I am as it were bearing Christ, and it is Him you honor. If He left me, I should be nothing at all.”- Sundar Singh, Called of God (Parker)2
Pray the Lord’s Prayer daily. When we pray it each day, we focus our hearts on God’s holiness, kingdom, and will; on the essential bread of life; on the forgiveness of our sins and our forgiveness of others; on allowing God to lead us; and on God’s power and glory, forever.
Pray with me, this expanded version of the prayer written by Adam Hamilton.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
You are not just my Father: you are our Father, Father of those like me and those very different from me, Father of those people I love and those I struggle to love. Help me remember they are all your children.
Hallowed by thy name, Not my name, but thy name, Hallow thy name.
May others see your majesty, beauty, and love… May they see this in my living, in my loving… Help me to hallow your name.
Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Not my kingdom, but Thy kingdom come. May your rule and reign come, in my life, in the lives of your people until it expands and fills the earth. I submit to your rule and honor you as my king.
Thy will be done, mot mine. Help me to sense your leading. Help me to long more than anything to do your will. May your will be done on earth, not just in my life, but in how we as humans live and love, just as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
I lift to you, O Lord, those who don’t have enough to eat, or who lack the other necessities of life. Help me to pay attention, to see and notice those in need. Please use me, and your church, to generously share with them.
Give me today, dear Lord, the bread I need – your presence, your love. Be for me the bread of life today, Lord, and satisfy my hungry heart.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lord, forgive me my debts, those things I should have done but failed to do and those things I should not have done which I did do.
Forgive us Lord, as a race, a people, for the ways in which we have not done your will, for the ways in which we have not loved you with our whole heart, and not loved our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Forgive us for accepting injustice, for our past in bringing harm to your planet.
For give our indifferences and pride, and our lack of empathy for the suffering of others.
And help me to forgive, as you have forgiven us. Bless those who have wronged me in the past. Help me to see my own shortcomings as I consider the shortcomings of others. Please help me to let go of the wrong committed against me and free me to love even those who wrong me.
And lead us, not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Lead me, Lord, today, now, in this moment. Help me to pay attention to the voice of your Spirit. I yield my life to you, Lord, do with me what you will.
Lead me away from temptation. You know how easily I stray from your path, chasing after things that promise pleasure but only bring pain.
And lead us Lord, humans. Lead us in our church, in our city, in our state, in our country; lead us in the world.
Help us steer clear of temptation. Lead us away from evil. And forgive us for the ways we as a people have succumbed to the tempter’s lies.
For this is the kingdom, the power, and glory, forever. Amen.
Thine, not mine, is the kingdom, help me to live like it. Thine, not mine, is the power, help me to yield to it.
Thine, not mine, is the glory, help me to live for your glory. Forever and ever. So, be it! Amen.