7.9.08

MUSINGS ON HEAVEN ON EARTH PROMPTED BY John Richardson on Mark 13.


John and I think differently on some things but on the core things there is much more to unite than divide. As Christians, we spend time meditating on what I have come to think of as 'doublespace', we live in the kingdom of heaven now on earth, maligned as it is by our own sinfulness, and we live beyond this, catching up with a self that already exists with God where there is no sin, and glory is not partial or misted over but dazzling bright.

Our inheritance as adopted sons and daughters is another space in which we will one day dwell with God and Jesus and in eternity. Sometimes this other existence is almost palpable, we see glimpses of it; sometimes we dwell in the shadows and through our own obstacles find it hard to see.

But Jesus reigns here and now, and yet we wait for him to come again in splendour.

Some people seem to forget the beauty that exists all around them and only fix their eyes on this future, for some people, for various reasons the beauty is very hard to see.

I have been thinking a lot about these things lately and really seeing the kingdom of God here, right here, right now. We are given foretastes all the time, we are standing on holy ground and not realising it and bushes are burning brightly that we can not see through our own fog.

John's last two posts help to highlight this doublespace. He looks to the end times and reflects rather depressingly on the state humankind has got itself into. He makes some rather generalistic observations about teenagers who he feels only live for today. On the contrary, when my husband and I met with youth to discuss a group our church is setting up this month, we met with young people with their eyes as firmly fixed on tomorrow as much as they were today and on a lot more besides - on their life in eternity and the lives of those whom they hope will share in this good news!

I digress, in John's next post his focus shifts to the reign of Jesus in the here and now - the kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven...

We need to concern ourselves as much, if not more, with the kingdom of heaven here on earth as we do with the next life. In our consumer society we don't want this Christian life to be another kind of insurance policy for our own security - a 'saving' for the future, we have to be in the business of glorifying God for what he is doing here and now, in our lives and through the people we know, every minute of every day of this earthly existence.

John's first posting on this theme, rather reminds me of the words of this hymn, which whilst beautiful, I think rather sacrifices any detail of the kingdom that is already tangible

GREAT IS THE DARKNESS that covers the earth,
Oppression, injustice and pain.
Nations are slipping in hopeless despair,
Though many have come in Your name.
Watching while sanity dies,
Touched by the madness and lies.

Come, Lord Jesus, come, Lord Jesus,
Pour out Your Spirit we pray.
Come, Lord Jesus, come, Lord Jesus,
Pour out Your Spirit on us today.

May now Your church rise with power and love,
This glorious gospel proclaim.
In every nation salvation will come
To those who believe in Your name.
Help us bring light to this world
That we might speed Your return.

Great celebrations on that final day
When out of the heavens You come.
Darkness will vanish, all sorrow will end,
And rulers will bow at Your throne.
Our great commission complete,
Then face to face we shall meet.

Noel Richards & Gerald Coates
Copyright © 1992 Thankyou Music


Even if I'm a little off the mark and haven't looked into all the angles of John's thinking, in the quick read through that I did, these were the issues that his thoughts threw up for me. Perhaps it is because I am very grateful to God at the moment for He seems to be having me open my eyes a little more than perhaps ever before to some of the beauty that is all around me; that out of the mud grow the most exquisite flowers!

Goodnight

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