Teaching About the Kingdom

My lesson tonight includes the concept of God as king and of how we pray for the coming of the Kingdom. In American society, we sometimes have trouble teaching about the concept of the Kingdom of God – afterall, we won our independence from the “tyranny” of the King of England. Our present day understanding of a king is someone who is rich, powerful, self-centered,tyrannical, and arrogant. (In fact, once, on the Feast of Christ the King, the priest said, in his homily, that since the image we have of a king is so negative, he wasn’t going to preach about Christ as king but about a totally unrelated topic. Ugh!) Likewise, some find it difficult to relate to God using such a masculine image. While we need to be open to more feminine images of God, the fact remains that the Bible provides us with the image of God as king and the concept of the Kingdom of God, so we must explore how to use the image most effectively.

The biblical notion of a king (ideally speaking) is someone who unites, guards, protects, and provides for his people. The imagery of the concept of king and kingdom in the Old Testament is rich. The king of Israel is one who is to do God’s will, the one who is to protect God’s people from the enemy, and ultimately be willing to lay down his own life in order to save his people.

Jesus himself refers to the Kingdom of God dozens of times, indicating clearly that it is a central concept in his ministry. Jesus is no longer talking about a geographical area in which a king’s will must be followed but the state of being of our hearts: to live in the Kingdom of God is to allow God’s will to reign in our lives.

It’s good for us to know since since we pray, “thy kingdom come” and “for the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever!”

About Joe Paprocki

Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press. He has more than 30 years of experience in ministry and has taught at many different levels. He is the author of numerous books, including the bestseller The Catechist’s Toolbox and Under the Influence of Jesus.

Comments

  1. “While we need to be open to more feminine images of God…”

    I use this bit of Isaiah49 in my class:

    14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
    the Lord has forgotten me.”
    15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
    Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
    16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.

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