In this week’s post I would like to address a certain phrase that appears in one of the songs we sing on a fairly regular basis. But I also want to place that song within the larger story of worship that we encounter each week.
Below, you’ll see our complete Order of Worship where we begin by acknowledging and welcoming the presence of Christ among us (Hosanna), and then move into a call to praise God for his acts of creation, salvation, and re-creation (Be Praised & Psalm 96), before entering into a more meditative retelling of that story (Our God Alone). It is a line from this last song, “Our God Alone”, that I want to talk about this week.
Every time we sing this song I’m reminded that a certain phrase we sing could use some clarification:
“Who is returning / bringing our kingdom? / Our God alone / our God alone”
Specifically, it’s that line, “bringing our kingdom” that I’d like to address. Because usually when we talk about The Kingdom, we clearly identify it as being God’s Kingdom: the rule and dominion of God here on earth which we now only see in part but, when he returns, will be brought to completion. So, normally when we think of the Kingdom of God we think of phrases like from the Lord’s Prayer: “Your Kingdom come…”
So, when we sing this song, why do we sing that when Christ returns he will be “bringing our kingdom”?
Now, I can’t speak to the intent of the actual author of this song, but when we sing “our kingdom” I am immediately reminded of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount and specifically the Beatitudes.
In Matthew 5, Jesus proclaims a series of blessings (ie. beatitudes). Both the first and the last of these blessings are followed by the promise that “… the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Mt. 5:3 & 10). In Luke‘s version of the Beatitudes this phrase is even more personal: “… the kingdom of God is yours” (Lk. 6:20).
So, yes, there’s no debate: The Kingdom is none other that God’s Kingdom. However, one of the blessings that God bestows on those who submit to his Lordship is that we become part of that Kingdom; because of his amazing grace, God’s Kingdom becomes our Kingdom.
So I hope the next time we sing “Who is returning / bringing our kingdom?” we can do so in hope, looking forward to that moment when all of God’s promises are brought to fulfillment and we can share in God’s glorious Kingdom where “We will worship / we will worship / Our God alone / our God alone.”