We are told endlessly that we live in a global village, and now there’s almost instant communication around the globe. There’s a degree of interconnectedness we could never have dreamt of even 20 years ago. Is this what the Kingdom will look like?
In some ways, globalisation is wonderful. Never before have we been in so much contact with people from other cultures and traditions. We’re beginning to recognise we are truly each other’s brothers and sisters.
Sadly, the global village is also a curse held together by trade, which not only enriches but impoverishes. It is sometimes also linked together by violence – witnessed horrifically on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, and generally and continually through the mafia, money laundering, human trafficking, civil wars and the drugs trade.
In the global village, hundreds of languages are spoken – yet it seems to me there is one dominant language: money.
Everything can be converted into money and money into everything – even though money itself is becoming increasingly intangible as digits twinkling on a mobile or computer screen. We often bend our knees before the false god of wealth in which many kingdoms grow.
Thy kingdom come
The Kingdom of God is justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It operates in a different language altogether – working within us in a more beautiful and subtle way, witnessing global and transnational forces, and making us attentive to other accents and other human stories.
I want to tell you about a global phenomenon that began in 2016. The brainchild of the archbishops of Canterbury and York, it is a global call to prayer from Ascension Day to Pentecost. Using a line from the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come”, it encourages us all to pray for five people to know Jesus Christ. Starting first in the churches of the UK, it is now a global, ecumenical movement.
Pentecost, when the babble of Babel was transformed into understanding and mutuality, marks the birthday of the church. It was nothing short of the global future of a baby born in Bethlehem, whose message filters and reaches into the whole world for whom it is destined.
From 20 May to June 9 (if not all the time), we need to cherish personal encounters, local voices and small stories so we are able to reach the hearts and minds of friends and strangers – speaking with the spaciousness of the word of God, for then we will truly begin to glimpse what it means to be children of the Kingdom and pray “thy kingdom come” with a fervour.
Ahead of the game?
St Alban’s Church will be open every day from 10 am to 4 pm during this period. Why not come and be part of the movement of prayer and change in which the Spirit of God speaks to our hearts with disturbing peace?
My own prayer is that we will be swept away by a globalising force that is as mighty as rushing wind, gentle as breath and all-consuming as fire. My desire is that our hearts and minds will be enlightened to seek justice and know God. My wish is that each of us is emboldened to speak on behalf of those who suffer injustice. My longing is that five people in the season will come to know the love of God and seek treasure that will not fail.
Join this takeover bid and pray “thy kingdom come!” But then again, perhaps Denmark was always one step ahead with the Great Prayer Day?