The intimate relationship between the church and the kingdom presented in the Scriptures was a prominent theme in many sixteenth-century writings. In various ways, its final revelation was hoped and longed for, while its present, partial blessings were tasted and enjoyed. In this selection from her exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, German Reformed writer Katharina Schütz Zell (1497/98-1562) calls out for the coming kingdom, expressing her trust in the Lord as she awaits its consummation.
Bring Us to Your Kingdom, Lord!
O dear Father, grant that all that the enemy has in us may be killed and driven out. May we be the children of your kingdom and not cast out. May we not fail to hear because we do not pay attention, when today we hear your voice through Jesus Christ as he says, “Reform yourselves [bessert eüch], the kingdom of God has come near.” O God, help us to recognize and flee from the kingdom of the devil, to recognize and let go of the perishable kingdom of the world, for both are enemies that oppose you. But may we seek with seriousness and not hypocrisy and find your good,O dear God, help us: we are so far from your kingdom! enduring, imperishable kingdom and its righteousness. May we be admitted to it and become citizens and receive wisdom and all that we need from you.
O dear God, help us: we are so far from your kingdom! Grant that we may not be so casual and stiff-necked toward you and your kingdom, so that when you come again you may not judge us to be your enemies who would not allow you to rule over us. But grant that we may receive and obey you from the heart and be the people of your kingdom.
Through your Holy Spirit may you rule and be Lord in our hearts, souls, bodies and consciences. May your word and commandment live in us. For you are the King of honored lords, and Lord of the true kingdom, whom we all must acknowledge, seek, honor, fear and love, to whom alone we should pray and to whom we should adhere as our true Lord, Ruler and King.
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