The global prayer movement, Thy Kingdom Come, begins next week, on 13th May which is Ascension Day, and runs until Pentecost on the 23rd. This means that it embraces Christian Aid Week (10th – 16th May) which seems particularly appropriate, given that the work of the UK Churches’ Aid Agency aims to bring the values of God’s Kingdom to some of the world’s poorest people. People who, we are being told, are suffering most because of the climate crisis but have done the least to cause it.
If we try and think of what the Kingdom might look like, we might struggle to put it into words straight away. To celebrate Thy Kingdom Come 2021, a new hymn has been written, described as a “whole-life worship song”. Watch it here: We Seek Your Kingdom (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Listening to it put me in mind not of the hymn “Abide with me”, with which it shares the tune “Eventide”, but another old favourite, “For the beauty of the earth”: in particular the line “flowers of earth and buds of heaven”, that relationship between the earthly kingdom and the heavenly one.
For each perfect gift and sign
of your love so freely given
graces human and divine
flowers of earth and buds of heaven
Christ, our God, to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise
Supposing our idea of heaven was icecream, what would be the Kingdom’s values associated with it? Consider these as a starting point: that it was made from milk from grass fed cows; on an organic farm; bought in a local independent shop; where the staff are paid more than the living wage; cows that have been bred to produce less methane; vegan icecream rather than dairy; packaged in a biodegradable container; or in a shop that let you bring your own container.
A two litre carton of Scottish icecream was priced at £4 in a Dundee supermarket yesterday.£6 would buy a bag of cement to help a Kenyan community to build an earth dam to store rainwater.This would ease the burden of people like Rose, a 67 year old grandmother who walks for 6 hours every day to collect water.As Christian Aid says, “every last drop of water is precious to Rose” –even more so due to climate change and the pandemic.
"buds of heaven" . . .