First United Methodist Church
Plymouth, Indiana

Whose Will Be Done?


First United Methodist Church March 13, 2022
Rev. Dr. Byron Kaiser, Pastor
Lent 2
Whose Will Be Done?

Today we start our second week of our Lenten Study of the Lord’s Prayer. Why 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.” For some of us, this will be like peeling an onion, we will peel back the layers of the prayer to find the deep meanings. For some of us, this will be a reminder of what we know. For some of us, this will be exploring new territory and perhaps creating a new practice.

As we explore the prayer, we shall find that each of the utterances present to us a yearning of our heart and a call to action for our brothers and sisters. To pray the prayer, the prayer does not simply allow us to recite its words, the prayer calls us to invest our time, talent, and resources into a work of grace for others.

Last week we considered the first utterance, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Praying the first utterance of the Lord’s Prayer, we acknowledge the communal nature of our faith. We acknowledge 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. This week we consider the second utterance, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

As we begin, hear this morning prayer from the first century, “O God, who art the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection, who sendest peace to those what receive it; open to us this day the sea of Thy love, and water us with the plenteous streams from the riches of Thy grace. Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace. Enkindle in us the fire of Thy love; sow in us Thy fear; strengthen our weakness by Thy power; bind us closely to Thee and to each other in one firm bond of unity; for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.” - Syrian Clementine Liturgy

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we witness kingdom coming. When humans bring the kingdom, the kingdom comes as an invading army killing, men, women, and children.

Raping the land and leaving desolation. This type of kingdom coming is what so many of Jesus’ disciples in his day wanted. Peter wanted a “Putin” to destroy and conquer the enemies of the Jewish people. This type of Jesus is for what many Christians want and pray. They want Jesus to come on a warhorse with a sword in his hand and murder, men, women, and children, with whom they disagree. Jesus is not, and shall never be, a Putin. God’s Kingdom never comes as an invading army no matter how loudly some Christian broadcasters scream it. Their screaming does not make it so.

We start with a phrase whose action parallels and reciprocates a phrase from the first utterance. Remember how I shared with you that to “hallow” God’s name is to live and act and speak in ways to bring glory and holiness to God? We hallow God's name in the same time- dimension as God’s kingdom comes.

John the baptizer’s sermon thesis is, “Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Some people think John preaches, “Repent because God’s Kingdom comes!” or, “Get your act

together before God shows up, because God’s coming!” or, “Wait until your Father gets home!” A better reading of the text may be, “You now have the capacity to repent, because God has drawn near to you."

In the context of the first two utterances of the prayer, using John’s model, we come to something like this, “you have the capacity to make God’s name holy in your life, your actions, and your words, because the Kingdom of God has come near to you.”

You can hallow God’s name because the kingdom has come or has the kingdom come because you hallow God’s name? I believe the process to be the first one. Because God’s kingdom has come, we can live holy lives to bring glory to God.

With prayer and words of Jesus, meanings layer deeply. English cannot easily capture the majesty of the meaning. I speak about the word “come.” The form of the word Jesus uses in the prayer has a double ring of meaning. God's kingdom comes for a moment and will fully come later also in a moment. This links to the study of end things. This links us to the great paradox of fully present but not yet.

Think with me about a thunderstorm during draught. The ground cracks and yawns open for refreshing rain. The promised moisture hovers over the landscape in clouds lit up with lightning. You smell the water in the wind. You see the gray haze of the rain drops descending. Yet on the ground not a drop has landed. Restoration of the water is fully present but not yet arrived on the ground. Fully present; not yet. The Kingdom of God comes present but will come fully present.

Spring resembles perfectly the coming of God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom springs forth.

One day all seems dead. The next life and beauty emerge. Life springs eternal. Hope springs eternal. God springs eternal. Isaiah sees it this way:

Isaiah 11:6-9

6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.

9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

John, the Bishop on the Island of Patmos, experiences the coming of the kingdom this way:

Revelation 21:1-5

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home* of God is among mortals. He will dwell* with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them;

4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’

5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also, he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’

Hallowing God’s name, God’s Kingdom “coming”, and God’s will weave a three-cord braid. All have the nature of fully present, not yet. All may be experienced because God moves with us in each moment. Praying, “Thy will be done” acknowledges that much of what we see, and experience is not God’s will.

God wills life. (This is not a “right to life” sermon – that is a political group with a political agenda developed and pushed for political, not faith, means. I won’t speak of it here.)

God wills life. When we experience death, disease, accident, trauma, violence, hatred, injustice, or abuse, these things are not of God. 99.9% of the time these are direct consequences of human decision or error.

Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, chapter 5, about how God’s will looks. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Where the fruit of the spirit is present, the will of God has domain. Where the fruit of the spirit is absent, the person follows their own will. The person does not hallow God’s name.

Sometimes following the path of God’s will crushes our heart for we know the pain that will result from showing love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Listen to Jesus.

Luke 22:41-42

41Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt, and prayed,

42‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.

Here is a little of what heaven on earth looks like.

Midwest Missions brings the hearts and hands of God's people together to transform resources into humanitarian relief.

Since opening for ministry in 2000, Midwest Mission has been showing God’s Love in practical ways through the distribution of disaster relief supplies, education, health, and micro-business assistance meeting basic human needs around the world and around the corner. A “hands-on” mission experience is provided to those who serve at Midwest Mission which brings hope to those receiving supplies.

Henderson Settlement offers opportunities For Better Lives Through Christ-Centered Service. Their mission, as part of the body of Christ, is to lift Jesus Christ by providing basic needs in Appalachia through God's love.

Mission Guatemala exists to help meet the basic needs and improve the quality of life of under-served Guatemalan people through health, education, and nutrition initiatives and meaningful missionary service. Together, we can make a difference!

UMCOR comes alongside those who suffer from natural or human-caused disasters – be it famine, hurricane, war, flood, fire, or other events—to alleviate suffering and to be a source of help and hope for those left most vulnerable. We provide relief, response, and long-term recovery grants when these events overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on their own. UMCOR also provides technical support and training for partners to address emerging and ongoing issues related to disaster relief, recovery, and long-term health and development.

Bring it all together

Thy Kingdom Come,

We call on you, Most High of the Highest, to rain down upon us the living waters so that we might experience your heavenly Kingdom here on Earth.

Thy Will be done,

For we know and trust that your Will is for our own greater good. You designed us for your own purposes and wait only for our consent to join your Will with our own will. We strive towards realizing the plan you have held for us since before we were born. We give our nature to you for your purposes so that your Will, the Highest Will, can be done through us here and NOW…

On Earth as it is in Heaven.

We seek to be a part of the recreation on earth and of Heaven above. Your ancient wisdom-keepers tell us that the life we live on earth reflects our relationship with You. When we come closer to you, Father, our life reflects it. When we live in suffering and pain, our life reflects it. Help us aspire so that we can participate in bringing your Will to Earth.