On Earth as in Heaven

Contributing Writer: Aaron Hedges, Inheritance of Hope Technology & Talent Director

God’s dream is different.  We don’t have to base our life on the dis-ease avoiding American dream, either by pursuing it wholeheartedly or feeling like failures because we aren’t pursuing it as well as others seem to be.  Hope is not a technique for succeeding in this prevailing approach to life.  Hope is another way.

Instead, hope finds that reality does not need to be avoided but can be embraced and lived in.  Hope is not a fabrication but brings us into the fabric of reality.  This is the hope found in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  This is not an otherworldly hope; it is not seeking escape.  It is a this-worldly hope in light of another world, a hope that happens on earth.  This is not a “hope” that weakly wishes for things that are not, that only might be or could be; hope seeks what is already reality, God’s reality.

Heaven, God’s reality, sounds pretty good, right?  But what does it mean?  How does it work?  How do we know if it’s possible?  If it’s even real?

God’s reality is revealed in many ways, but one way that we must consider is in the person who taught us to pray for God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.  In Jesus we hear teachings about what God’s kingdom is like, and we also see in the living of a human being what God’s kingdom looks like.  Jesus is a sort of “show and tell” of God’s reality, one who embodies and articulates that reality.  The one who taught us to pray in this manner is also the one who reveals what the prayer means.

There is much to be said about Jesus.  Other series in our Living Hope Legacy Library explore Jesus in more depth, and I encourage you to sign up for them as you are interested.  For now, though, consider this simple summary of the hope found in Jesus.

  • Jesus comes to earth, giving up the ease of heaven to enter the dis-ease of earth.
  • Jesus speaks about giving up one’s life – our comforts and identities – and dying to discover true life.
  • Jesus blesses those who are poor, mourning, meek, hungry, and persecuted.
  • Jesus acts to show God’s power over dis-eases of all sorts.
  • Jesus suffers tremendously, and he dies.
  • Jesus is raised from death into life beyond dis-ease.

Everything about Jesus runs counter to dis-ease avoidance!  He willingly encounters dis-ease of every sort, all the way to death.  Jesus does not have to avoid dis-ease and death because he trusts God to overcome them.  So can we.

This is hope.  This is hope real enough to acknowledge dis-ease rather than avoid it, real enough to hold up when death approaches, real enough to hold strong even after death comes.  In the end, we will not be able to avoid dis-ease or death.  But we can hold on to hope centered in Jesus all the way.