Our Lord, Come!Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Our Lord, come!
1 Corinthians 16:22
As Paul finishes his letter to the Corinthians, he includes a brief prayer offered to the Lord Jesus: "Our Lord, come!" (16:22). Reading this prayer in translation, we miss how strange it must have sounded to the Corinthian Christians as it was read in their assembly. Paul wrote in Greek, the common language of Corinth. But the short sentence translated as "Our Lord, come!" is not in Greek, but Aramaic (in Greek letters). It can be transliterated into English as marana tha, and is familiar to many contemporary Christians as a single word, maranatha. The Aramaic expression means "our Lord" (marana) "come" (tha).
Why did Paul close his letter with the prayer "Our Lord, come!" And why, for goodness' sake, did he use an Aramaic form of this prayer rather than Greek? Does Paul's use of marana tha make any difference to us, or is it just a curiosity?
In tomorrow's reflection I'll answer the questions having to do with the implications of Paul's use of Aramaic. In fact, this matters a great deal and reveals something crucial about our faith. But, today, I want to focus on the content of the prayer, the call for Jesus to come.
Christians throughout the ages have believed that, after his resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven and would one day return to complete the work he began in his first visit among us. Thus, when we pray "Our Lord, come!" we aren't asking Jesus to come back and get us so that we might go to heaven. Rather, we are asking him to return so as to finish his work of restoring creation. We are calling for our Lord to bring a new heaven and a new earth. Thus, "Our Lord, come!" isn't a prayer to escape this world. Rather, it is a request for completion, renewal, and life as it was meant to be. When we pray this prayer, we are encouraged to live for our Lord's purposes today, even as we yearn for the day of his return.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever heard the word maranatha? In what context? Do you ever pray for Jesus to come? Why or why not? How might asking Jesus to come make a difference in how you live today?
PRAYER: Our Lord, come!
Come, Lord Jesus, and make all things new. Come, Lord Jesus, and complete the work you have begun on earth. Come, Lord Jesus, and finish your work of defeating evil, sin, and death. Come, Lord Jesus, and wipe away every tear. Come, Lord Jesus, and be fully glorified.
Come, Lord Jesus, and make me new. Come, Lord Jesus, and complete the work you have begun in me. Come, Lord Jesus, and finish your work of defeating the power of evil, sin, and death in my life. Come, Lord Jesus, and wipe away my tears. Come, Lord Jesus, and be fully glorified in me, even as I share in your glory.
Our Lord, come! Maranatha! Hallelujah!