Sunday, March 20, 2016

This week's lesson (March 19-25): redemption

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. -- Matthew 6:9f, NIV

Don't think of heaven as just a place.

Think of it as an agenda too.

If you have a problem, after all, then it always helps to ask what the solution would be like -- what are its criteria?

When our church was planning a Fellowship Hall, for instance, we came up with a list of "non-negotiables," i.e. all the things this building must include (and exclude), such as:
  • seating for 100,
  • and given the weather on the Oregon Coast, a roof that doesn't leak.
Once we had this list, it made planning a lot easier. (Not easy, mind you -- but easier.) Talk of adding a stage, for instance, ran afoul of the first two requirements; talk of adding skylights ran afoul of the third.But in both cases, we knew what to do because we knew where we wanted to end up.
Likewise, the Bible gives a long list of Heaven's "non-negotiables" -- of all the things it will include (and exclude), such as:
  • righteousness.
  • mercy,
  • and peace.
Yes, all these things are gifts from God.
All these things will be fully realized, only in the future.
But it's no coincidence that all these things are meant to be our concerns in the here and now -- that Jesus blesses the righteous, the merciful, and the peacemakers who do "God's will on earth, [just] as it is in Heaven."
In short, heaven tells us what God's solutions will be like . . . 
And when you know where you're going, it makes knowing what to do a lot easier.
Again, this doesn't mean we can build heaven here on earth.
But maybe -- just maybe . . . we can show people what it's going to be like.

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