This is one of the simplest, oldest prayers of the Church. It’s used by Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth, and is usually translated as: “Come, O Lord.” Come.
When I first pondered this, I was struck by the power and the beauty of this simple phrase. From the Creed, we know that the Lord will come again in glory. As Abbot Joseph Homick points out in his excellent book How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place: Lifting the Veils on the Presence of God, the petition for the Kingdom to come is one “through which we long for the end of suffering and sorrow and the beginning of the eternal life of peace and joy in the unveiled presence of God, with all his holy ones.”
How lovely! What a pleasant thought!
And then I realized something that made this simple prayer take a more serious turn: To pray for the Kingdom to come means something for me. It’s not just a concept. It’s not just a nice thing that I might passively experience. It requires something on my part.
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” says John the Baptist in Matthew 3:2.
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” Jesus preaches repeatedly, beginning in Matthew 4:17. And the Lord continues:
“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
“No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:3)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
In the first chapter of 2 Thessalonians, Paul says that those who don’t obey the Gospel will be punished when the Lord’s Kingdom comes.
When I think about these passages from the Scriptures, I no longer see that beautiful maranatha prayer as a request that requires God to act while I sit around and soak up the goodness. It is indeed beautiful, but it carries with it a weighty question: Am I really ready, right now, for God’s Kingdom to come?
What are your thoughts? What else can we learn from “Come”?
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