Eternal God, merciful Father, You have appointed Your Son as judge of the living and the dead. Enable us to wait for the day of His return with our eyes fixed on the kingdom prepared for Your own from the foundation of the world; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
There is an old joke about an athletic director calling the football coach into his office for a post-season talk. The season had not gone well. They had lost most of their games. When the athletic director asked the coach why the season had been so dismal, the coach was taken aback. “But we saved all but two of our time-outs in the whole season. It was a great success!”
Clearly the criteria for success were not mutually shared. The athletic director, players, and fans were not concerned at all whether the time-outs had been conserved. After the game, the time-outs are worthless anyway. They should be spent in a strategy to win the games.
The story is a farce, but when we apply it to this prayer, it might become much less farcical. We pray that God would enable us to keep our eyes fixed on the kingdom prepared for God from the very beginning of time. To take our eyes off that kingdom is akin to what the coach in the story above has done. He lost sight of the real goal – winning football games. Notice that it is God’s kingdom and not our kingdom. We are citizens and He is the King. It is His kingdom, and we belong to it.
That kingdom breaks into this old benighted world in many ways. Every Sunday, when a pastor stands before his parish and says, “…as a called and ordained servant of the Word, I forgive…” that is a kingdom moment, when Jesus’ kingdom is present. In fact, any time a Christian forgives another human being in the name of Christ, that kingdom comes. When Christians believe that they are in God’s hands, protected by Him, fed by Him, sustained by Him, and therefore open their hearts, lives, and treasures to feed the poor, care for the afflicted, and love the unlovable, God’s kingdom comes in that love. When any plan of the devil is thwarted and when people praise God as a result, the kingdom comes. Keep looking at these things. This is the kingdom which God has prepared for Himself since the foundation of the world. Having your eyes focused on the other things will one day be as silly as the coach who saved all his time-outs.