Anna: Thy Kingdom Come

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“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Lately these words have been following me. I taught them at Summer Bible Camp. They follow me in my thoughts. I hear them in the words of my mentors. They follow me to Church, and they unveil themselves in my favorite songs.

I distinctly remember them from my past. I learned the Lord’s Prayer as a young child sitting in the pews. The pastor would pray, and at the end of his prayer, the congregation would recite the prayer. For a split second I would raise my head and look around. My six year old eyes would steal a glance and scan the congregation as they prayed. The monotone voices seemed to rise out of the air itself. As quickly as the words began, they would end.

What could “Thy Kingdom Come” mean? I pictured crowns, white horses, castles and princesses.

Then as a young adult I hear the words again in Church, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. My pastor asks, “How is God’s will done in heaven?” “Swiftly and obediently,” he answers.

The fact is we’re quite incapable of executing His will on our own. Still, while we live on earth Jesus gave us this prayer to pray.

The words echo in my mind when I sing, “Build your Kingdom here” (Rend Collective). One of my favorite songs Tracing Scars by The People of Mars Hill reminds me of those words,

The Kingdom is coming, it’s falling from heaven to earth.

Responding to cries from the broken, the shattered, the burned…

You call us to touch You and trace out the scars in Your side,

and believe.”

I’m learning it’s less a question of what is the kingdom, and more like who is the kingdom. The people redeemed by the scars in Christ’s hands are the ones who bring a glimmering of the kingdom down to earth. When they extend their hands they respond out of thankfulness to Christ.

God’s Kingdom falls to earth when his servants are transformed and find Jesus worthy to follow. Yes, because Jesus is worthy, may His will be done as swiftly and clearly as it is done in heaven.

Suddenly I see His kingdom “falling from heaven to earth”. I see it among my peers in college and at Church; I see it at Light of the Village and Camp Faith.  It’s in every person who holds the hand of one who has lost a loved one. It’s in people who are stubbornly determined to follow Jesus—whatever changes or new seasons it may bring them. It happens when a child in need of shoes is given them. It shows when Christ’s followers extend grace to the criminal, the confused or those who don’t fit in.

Jesus is the Light of the world. Hope stirs gently on earth because Jesus works through the hands of those who follow him, bringing light from his Kingdom that cannot be extinguished. 

Anna: Unstoppable Light

This is a preliminary post written by one of our returning interns, Anna, about recent events at Light of the Village. Watch for more from Anna this summer!
“I start off this summer’s blog on a more somber note. Yesterday one of the students from Light of the Village, Jodeci  Woodard was murdered just a few blocks from the ministry. Jodeci had grown up around the ministry and is the ninth person Light of the Village has lost in the last two years. Summer Bible camp will start in less than a month. It is safe to assume that Jodeci was a participant in previous summer Bible camps just like the kids that will attend this summer. This summer the staff, interns, and volunteers will play with, and invest in kids from the area much like Jodeci.
In reaction to the loss, one of the interns at the ministry posted on facebook a verse from Proverbs 24:11,“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter”. She concluded her post saying, “There is no time to waste.”
Indeed, there is no time to waste. At home yesterday I heard about the murder and was saddened to hear the news. I hurt for his family, and for the community that is so real at Light of the Village. On facebook another intern posted the scripture noted above, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it” (John 1:5).
It is no coincidence that yesterday morning I came across the same verse and the verse preceding it, “In Him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men.”I have no words to make his death seem better, nor any solutions. None of us can stop people from hurting others.  But Christ brings light and life, and the light he bears cannot be stamped out. He brings light and life in a new and beautiful way that is foreign to those who don’t know who he is. May my hands and the hands of those who know Jesus be fast to flood this community with Jesus’ light and his love.  May the community witness something that will draw them into the light—light and comfort that God himself brings to the darkest of situations.

Local 15 News covered Jodeci’s murder.
http://www.local15tv.com/news/local/story/Program-to-Save-Youth-Loses-Another-Life-to-Murder/QIDxqFUMhEGN8pJsYSW9Aw.cspx#.UZUhXxEZdl0.facebook

Jodeci