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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 161

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From the Word: 9 I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation, and kingdom, and resolute endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamum, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”” (Revelation 1:9–11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Petition

Thy kingdom come.

What does this mean?

The kingdom of God comes indeed by itself, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may also come to us.

How is this done?

God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that by his grace we believe his holy Word and live a godly life now and in eternity.

Pulling It Together: Being a citizen of the Father’s kingdom does not exempt us from trials and distress while we still have a foot in this world (John 16:33). John was imprisoned on Patmos; each of us may have our own exiles—from family, neighbor, workmates, or society as a whole—but we know our citizenship is in heaven. The old Larry Norman song (“Reader’s Digest”) ends, “I’m only visiting this planet,” prior to his homage to John Benson’s hymn: “This world is not my home; I’m just passing through.” Knowing we are ambassadors here (2 Cor 5:20), only visiting this world, allows us, through the power of the Spirit of Christ within us, to persevere so long as we are stationed here. We are residents in this world, citizens of another, fairer realm. Despite the tribulations of this place, we must listen for the great voice of Christ and be at peace in his presence. For he is with us, even here (Matt 28:20).

Prayer: Open my ears to hear your great voice, Lord. Amen.

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