This is the last of six weeks of Monday Lenten reflections. I hope you’ve enjoyed as much peace on these Mondays as I have. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
No longer will there be a curse on anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there – no need for lamps and sun – for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)
As Christians we tend to focus on heaven. We like to think about what eternal life with God in a heavenly realm might be like, who we might meet there, how we might spend our time. Sometimes we even find ourselves yearning for that heavenly peace and rest. We look to heaven as an escape from our present difficulties – a place and time when we will be free from pain, grief, loneliness and suffering. “No longer will there be a curse on anything,” John prophecies in Revelation, and we admit that it all sounds rather lovely.
In focusing our sights on heaven, though, we miss an important part of Jesus’ command for us while we are here on Earth. Remember how Jesus instructed us to pray the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” Jesus intended that his kingdom begin on this Earth, not only in heaven alone.
The truth is, Jesus came down to Earth in human form and sacrificed himself so that we could live free from sin and death. Through his love we are resurrected with him, and we will spend eternal life with him. As these verses from Revelation predict, someday we will see God face-to-face; someday we will live free of evil, despair and darkness.
Nevertheless, this does not diminish the fact that each of us has an important role to play in bringing God’s kingdom to Earth while we are here. We cannot overlook the fact that we can and will see God’s face here on Earth – perhaps not as clearly as we will in heaven, but here and now nonetheless, in the faces of our loved ones, our neighbors, the man on the street.
Our job is to seek God’s face right where we are and help bring his kingdom to Earth.
Heaven begins right here, right now, with us.
Today I celebrate your glory, Lord Jesus. Today I celebrate that you and you alone have the power to free me from sin and death. Today I celebrate your love for me, a love so broad and so deep that nothing can ever diminish it. And today I also thank you, Lord, for trusting me as your servant. May I do your will in your kingdom come on Earth. Amen.
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