Aug 31, 2016

Exalting the Lord's Kingdom, Power, and Glory

1 Chronicles 29:11

"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all."

Scholars of religion often distinguish between "high church" and "low church" Protestant traditions. High-church traditions are those that have retained a more formal liturgy (order of worship) and various elements such as clerical vestments, processionals, and the observance of the church calendar in their worship. Low-church traditions, on the other hand, tend to be far less formal. Their liturgies will be simpler, and their worship will often include a few hymns or songs, a sermon, and prayer but not the more formal elements of the high-church traditions. On the extreme end of low-church Protestantism there are even churches that have no real plan for worship other than gathering and "letting the Spirit move." By way of example, Anglicans and Lutherans would typically fall under the category of highchurch Protestantism, while many Baptist denominations and the Pentecostal movement would be part of low-church Protestantism. Presbyterians and the Dutch Reformed typically land somewhere between the two poles of the spectrum, depending on the specific church.

No matter where a church falls on the spectrum of high church or low church, it has a liturgy, an order of service, of some kind. It may be highly organized, formal, and written down, or it may be informal and unspoken. But every church has a liturgy.

Over the centuries, churches from almost every tradition have adopted specific biblical texts into their worship, sometimes adding other texts to them or reshaping them to make them more fit for use in worship while retaining their meaning. The Lord's Prayer is one such example of the church's adaptation, for the following line or some variation thereof is often added to the end of the prayer as it appears in Matthew 6 and Luke 11: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen."

It is an appropriate addition, reflecting such biblical texts as 1 Chronicles 29:11. It also serves to close the prayer with a reminder of who God is and who we are. We pray rightly for ourselves, but we always entrust ourselves finally into the hands of the One who rules over all, who has the power to meet our every need, and whose glory is our highest goal and most satisfying reward. We conclude the Lord's Prayer with this line, thereby reorienting ourselves back to our Creator, upon whom we depend for all things.

Coram Deo

In its liturgical form, the Lord's Prayer begins and ends with God's holy name, His kingdom, and His glory. The church has been wise in this, and we can learn from the saints who have gone before us that we should begin and end our prayers by praying for the coming of God's holy, powerful, and glorious kingdom. Let us pray for that today.

For Further Study