In this final instalment of our Lent series, Uncle Dr Pastor Ray Minniecon discusses the concept of kingdom, reflecting that when God’s word is communicated in ways people can understand, profound truths are revealed and transformation can take place.
A transcript of Uncle Ray's reflection can be downloaded here.
“I think for Indigenous peoples, we do have a huge big issue with that word kingdom…because the only kingdom we’re aware of is the British kingdom…And so one of the things that we have done in translating in my language to try and work through this particular phrase of kingdom…we said ‘We on all the earth will dream the same as you dream in heaven’...’The time will come when God is boss’...God is ruler and the ways in which his power and authority is worked out through us and with us…he always seeks to work in partnership with his creation. He doesn’t try to overrule…Now if the Lord's Prayer was written in my language, this is how I would say the last part of this particular prayer in English. It’s from my Kabi Kabi language translation ‘Yours alone, the land. Yours alone, the power. Yours alone, the shining light. Now and for all time. Amen.’”
As the Lord’s Prayer closes “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever” we are drawn back to the heart of our discipleship and hope we have in the kingdom of God. A kingdom that is radically different to any kingdom we know. As Uncle Ray highlights in his reflection, the concept of kingdom, as expressed and understood through worldly examples, often sees the exploitation of people and creation. Rather, God’s kingdom is defined by love - love for our enemy, our neighbour, the widow, the orphan and all creation. A kingdom where, as Uncle Ray expresses, “God is chief, God's rulership, God's government, God is ruler, the ways in which His power and authority is worked out through us and with us. He always seeks to work in partnership with His creation. He doesn't try to overrule it.”
At Easter, we see the power and glory of God’s kingdom lived out in the deep love of Jesus shown on the Cross. We look forward in triumphant hope to the reconciliation of all things when “we on all the earth will dream the same as you dream in heaven”.
We invite you to pray and continue reflecting on The Lord’s Prayer today.
Reflect: How do these passages enrich the final line of the Lord’s Prayer?
What has most disappointed you about the human kingdoms you have observed or been subject to? How does God's Kingdom promise something better than this?
How might the truths that ‘Yours alone, the land. Yours alone, the power. Yours alone, the shining light. Now and for all time’ shape how you pray?
Pray: Join us in prayer today, led by Joanna Hayes
God of creation,
Under your hand, kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall. Rulers may lay claim to lands and peoples but all land, all peoples, all creatures belong to you.
We thank and praise you for your loving leadership; we wish every human ruler was like you. We dream of the day when your perfect and just rule will restore all peoples, all lands, all creatures.
Help us to live remembering you’re our boss and give all praise and glory to you.
Act: How can you continue to commit yourself to prayer this year?
As Senior Aboriginal Christian Leader Aunty Jean Phillips encourages us, as we approach conversations and voting in the upcoming referendum, we “first of all need to be coming together, we need to give it a lot of time and prayer, and ask God to give us wisdom and guidance.” As we face this significant moment as a country we need to bring all things to God in prayer - for wisdom and strength for us to live out His kingdom in this moment, for our conversations and actions to be deeply grounded in love and compassion, for God to be glorified in the steps we can take together towards justice and reconciliation.
Throughout this Lent series we have listened to the voices of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders. If you haven’t already, we would love to invite you to continue deeply listening to and walking alongside our Aboriginal Christian Leaders this year through Common Grace’s Listen to the Heart, Christians for Voice & Justice campaign.
Uncle Dr Pastor Ray Minniecon is a descendant of the Kabi Kabi and Gurang Gurang nations of South-East Queensland, and a descendant of the South Sea Islander people. He is a founding board member of the Australian expression of NAIITS - a global Indigenous theological community - and leads the Scarred Tree Indigenous Ministries at St John’s in Glebe, Sydney.