In Heaven As It Is On Earth

I wish I could get it across that what Jesus lived and taught has almost no relationship with the “hate-ianity” that masquerades as Christianity across the press, airways and religious institutions today.

What should be a grace-infused, fully-life-giving, all-welcomed, heavenly-spaces-opened, mystery-explored, forgiveness and reconnection-enjoyed experience has turned into a “gotta hate gays, gotta vote republican, gotta be sure and send everyone who believes differently to eternal conscious torment” religious charade.

Now, the “gotta-hate” group makes better headlines. And the “gotta send everyone else to hell” mentality makes for tighter cohesive groups where if we are in, we are really in. A kind of emotional security many need comes with that.  The “gotta vote Republican” mindset makes it so much easier to skip the nuances and sub-texts of the political debates and positions, and just take the easier non-thinking stance where we vote as the loudest voices insist.

But, I ask, is this the way we want to live our lives? Is this what we hope eternity with God will look like?

I ask that last question because I suggest we are in the process of creating our own eternity.  Consider the story Jesus told in Luke 16 about the rich man who indulged himself all his life. In so doing, he cared not one bit about the poor one who sat at his gate, ill and barely surviving on food dropped from the rich man’s table. After both of their deaths, the rich man discovered that his eternity mirrored the hellish earthly life of the poor man whom he had ignored. The poor man found comfort and care in eternity denied to him before.

So I wonder . . if the way we live is primarily hateful and exclusive, will our eternity also be the same? After all, if God turns out to be the manifestation of perfect love that willingly gathers in those whom we’ve already deemed unacceptable, then the hate and exclusiveness embedded in our souls would make us loathe to enter a place filled with those we’ve despised so thoroughly.

Many pray daily or weekly (or at least everyone once in a while) these words: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

The highest and happiest call of all is to do that kind of “God’s kingdom coming” living and working while on earth.

Assuming at some point you and I have prayed those words, “God’s kingdom come,” the way we live now reveals what we want that kingdom to be like.

Do we routinely denigrate or put down others in order to build up our own position?  Then the heaven we are creating will be a dog-eat-dog world.

Do we grab what we want when we want it without regard to the needs of others? If so, then our heaven will be a place of greed and selfishness.

Do we use anger and intimidation to get our way? Then we would best be prepared to be afraid, even terrified, when stepping into eternity, for fear will be our everlasting companion.

Do we think certain people groups are less worthy than we of privilege and basic human rights?  Then we may find ourselves stepped over and spat upon.

Do we find life adventurous and hopeful?  Then our vistas will expand even further.

Do we celebrate the achievements of others? Then we may enjoy the accolades ourselves.

Do we make into daily habits the practices of patience, kindness, and life-giving light? Then let’s get ready to walk into the light that transforms everything into perfection.

Are we delighted to give forgiving grace to others because we have delighted in receiving that from God?  Then we shall enter into the most transformational of all spaces where lightness of soul gives us an eternity to wander through the heart of God.

That’s what I’m hoping for—and need to live out now.

"The split in the UMC is not only inevitable, it is UNDERWAY - 3 ways! ..."

Sacred Customer Service, Healthy Feet, and ..."
"Actually, "inclusive" seems like a very strange term to describe a church that shrinking like ..."

Why Evangelicals Support (Allegedly) Pedophilic Roy ..."
"That would be true if by "better" you mean less genocide than in the past."

Religious People Can Be The Most ..."
"We're so much better at genociding now."

Religious People Can Be The Most ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://jitterbuggingforjesus.com Rev. Paul McKay

    Great stuff, Reverend, although I have to say that this cuts both ways. I know liberal Democrat Christians, even clergy, who say some rather hateful things about people on the other side, or make sweeping generalizations about conservative Christians. One I hear so often that flies all over me is that Republicans/conservatives just don’t have any compassion. I’ve been on mission trips with conservative, Republican Methodists to some really dreadfully poor places in the world and seen “conservative Republican” Christians wrap their arms in love and compassiona around some really ragged people in some awful, rancid places and conditions. Even though I’m left of center politically and theologically, I think people who raise up Jesus as “a liberal” or even a “socialist” have the very same blind spots as those who think Jesus smiles on Republicans. It’s just ludicrous to me that anybody would think Christ is a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or conservative, and I would argue that neither still stand theologically. Christ Jesus spoke the Truth, period. We could all be wrong.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thoughtfulpastor thoughtfulpastor

      You are absolutely right–it does cut both ways. Democrats have no chokehold on compassion, nor are they without their own blind spots. I do often wonder, when we see Jesus face to face, just how much we’re all going to have to say, “did I get anything right?” The answer may very well be, “no.” And then we all, once more, fall upon the hope of grace.

  • http://jitterbuggingforjesus.com Rev. Paul McKay

    Great stuff, Reverend, although I have to say that this cuts both ways. I know liberal Democrat Christians, even clergy, who say some rather hateful things about people on the other side, or make sweeping generalizations about conservative Christians. One I hear so often that flies all over me is that Republicans/conservatives just don’t have any compassion. I’ve been on mission trips with conservative, Republican Methodists to some really dreadfully poor places in the world and seen “conservative Republican” Christians wrap their arms in love and compassiona around some really ragged people in some awful, rancid places and conditions. Even though I’m left of center politically and theologically, I think people who raise up Jesus as “a liberal” or even a “socialist” have the very same blind spots as those who think Jesus smiles on Republicans. It’s just ludicrous to me that anybody would think Christ is a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or conservative, and I would argue that neither still stand theologically. Christ Jesus spoke the Truth, period. We could all be wrong.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thoughtfulpastor thoughtfulpastor

      You are absolutely right–it does cut both ways. Democrats have no chokehold on compassion, nor are they without their own blind spots. I do often wonder, when we see Jesus face to face, just how much we’re all going to have to say, “did I get anything right?” The answer may very well be, “no.” And then we all, once more, fall upon the hope of grace.

  • Nancy Pannell

    Ah, Friend Christy, your words touch me and make me want to be more compassionate, more giving, more inclusive, less judgmental, a much more willing servant. Thank you. Your thoughts about heaven give us much to consider. Nancy

  • Nancy Pannell

    Ah, Friend Christy, your words touch me and make me want to be more compassionate, more giving, more inclusive, less judgmental, a much more willing servant. Thank you. Your thoughts about heaven give us much to consider. Nancy