Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
Advent. It is a time that we used to remember and to experience. Some of still do, but we are surrounded by a culture steeped in its own materialism and eventually self-destruction. Advent is a time of expectation: an active waiting and longing for the coming of God to set things aright — to bring the exiles home, to establish peace, to abide with the people God has called. It is a time to begin anew, as the church calendar circles back to its start, to begin anew and to live for the coming of the Kingdom of God. It is a time to pray, “Your Kingdom Come.”
There is nothing more radical to the spirit of the age than the Lord’s Prayer. It is a prayer of advent, of waiting, of expectation. Adveniat regnum tuum: may your kingdom come. In our culture, we do not like to wait: for food, for gratification, for fun, for anything really. We buy now, pay later. We build now, edit and rebuild later. There is no coming of waiting or expectation; fulfilment is either now or never.
What Advent and the Lord’s Prayer invites us into is a lifestyle of expectation. This does not mean inactivity. Expectation is an active longing and striving towards the realisation of a goal, and holy expectation works at God’s pace. We cannot bring the fulfilment of the kingdom, but we can love and serve towards it. We can expect it.
Advent reminds us, as does the Lord’s Prayer, that Jesus has come — he has come and has brought us near to God (so we pray, “Our Father”). It also reminds us that he will come again. We are in a waiting period between the two comings of the Messiah. The kingdom is an already-not-yet kingdom, inaugurated but not fully instantiated. When we pray “your kingdom come,” we are expressing a longing, a desire to see it come in its fullness. We are also committing ourselves to the undertaking of encouraging its arrival through a life of love, grace and hospitality (just to name a few virtues).
This Advent may we wait. May we learn to expect God’s coming. May we pray the words that Jesus taught us in hope and in longing. And may we always strive to hasten the kingdom to be on earth as it is in heaven through our thoughts, words and deeds.
PostScripta: Check out this video/song. I think it is all about waiting on the coming of God.