David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29.10-13.
Almost always, when we say the Lord’s Prayer, we end with the words, “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen”, or, in the modern version, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen”. If, however, we look up the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 or Luke 11, we find that those words are not there in any contemporary translation, or are only there as a footnote. That is because they are not found in the text of the earliest manuscripts of the gospels but were added at a later date. Why? Presumably because it was felt that some closing response was needed to “round off” the prayer; and what could be better than a condensed version of the great offering of praise that David makes to God in today’s reading?
It is good to remember that David made this offering of praise as king. He knew what greatness, power, glory and splendour were; he possessed them all as king. He knew what a kingdom was; he ruled over one. And to a lesser (but still significant extent) the same is true of me and of every human being. We are all little kings, enjoying a measure of greatness, power, glory, and splendour, and ruling over our little roosts. So I can come as David came and join his song of praise.
And when I do come and join his song in that way, I find that it is a song of glad submission as much as it is a song of praise. When David looks at God’s greatness and power, his own greatness and power are put in perspective, seen for how limited they really are. So are mine. When David looks at God’s glory and majesty and splendour, he sees how tawdry and flaky is his own by comparison. So is mine. And when David looks at God’s kingdom, he sees how small and insignificant is his own little fiefdom. So is mine.
It is only when I truly turn to God and acknowledge that, “thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory” that I am set free from the delusion that “mine is the kingdom, the power and the glory” — a delusion that I fall prey to a thousand times a day. And how good it is to be rid of it. How good it is to remember at the start of this day that I don’t have to cope with whatever it holds for me in my power. I don’t have to live through it in my glory. I don’t have to play at being king over the people and situations and circumstances I encounter.
Your majesty, I can but bow,
I lay my all before you now.
In royal robes I don’t deserve
I live to serve your majesty.