This body we commit to the ground, awaiting the day when our Lord Jesus Christ shall appear in power and majesty. The earth and the sea shall give up their dead, and those who sleep in the Lord shall rise in the glory of their redeemer.
Last month I stood beside the grave of my mother-in-law and pronounced these words, a paraphrase of language found in older versions of the Book of Common Prayer.
It seems to me all my prayers ought to express a similar thought, “awaiting the day.” Everything for which I pray in this age is but a shadow or a foretaste of the age to come.
I pray for the sick and the injured, awaiting the day of Christ’s appearing when this mortal flesh will put on immortality.
I pray for those in every sort of need, awaiting the day when the river of life flows through the city of God and the tree of life yields its fruit.
I pray for the lonely, the sojourner and the alienated, awaiting the day when all God’s people are gathered together as one.
I pray for the victims of hate, self-interest and the powers of this age, awaiting the appearance of the New Jerusalem within whose walls God’s people forever live in safety.
I pray for the nations of this world, awaiting the day when all powers and authorities bow before the king of kings and lord of lords.
In this age, even my prayers of praise and my petitions for forgiveness are conditioned by my relationship to the age to come.
I praise God in my small, ignorant, half-hearted, and hypocritical way in this age, awaiting the day when I stand before his throne in the great assembly with the saints of every age, my heart made pure and my knowledge complete.
I ask for God’s forgiveness, time and time again in this age, awaiting the day when I am delivered not only from the judgment of sin’s deadly curse, but from sin’s power and presence as well.
All the healing, provision and deliverance for which I now pray is just a brief preview of the great age to come when Jesus appears in power and majesty. Every manifestation of the kingdom in this age is temporary, local and incomplete.
“Your kingdom come” even hangs over every petition of the Lord’s Prayer.
Father, may your name be honored as holy. May your will be done. Provide us with what we need to live. Forgive us our sins, Deliver us from every power evil. Awaiting the day when all creations honors you and fulfills your loving intention in creation, the day when every hunger is satisfied, and the day when sin and the powers of evil are vanquished forever. Your kingdom come! Amen.