Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven

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Matthew 26:36-46; Matthew 6:5-15

What is God up to in the world?

Here’s a word to drop into conversation:  God is ouranifying the earth.

Ouranos is the Greek word for heaven – it’s where we get the name for the planet “Uranus”.  And here Jesus tells us that God’s desire is to ouranify the earth.  You might say – to heavenize the world.

What does that mean?  Well in heaven, everyone unquestioningly and gladly honours Jesus as Lord.  And the Father’s will is for earth to be like that.

Jesus says that very thing in John 6:40:

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

And so we pray “Father, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven!”

We want heaven to come to earth.  This is a point we discussed last time. The direction of our prayers is always for God’s kingdom to come to us. The trajectory is heaven to earth.  And that’s a revolutionary thought even, and perhaps especially, for religious folk.

You see religious types are always wanting to build a bridge from earth to heaven and/or to escape nasty earth and flee to nice heaven.  But Jesus says His way runs in exactly the opposite direction.  And we need to hear that point, especially in the wake of Harold Camping’s predictions last year.

Camping taught that on May 21st, 2011, Jesus would snatch up all the true believers from the earth and let the world go to hell.  The faithful would be beamed up and planet earth would be consigned to the flames.

Of course Camping’s a fool for predicting the date.  Of course he’s a fool for misleading thousands of people.  But even apart from those issues, the trouble with Camping was where he directed people’s hope.  He encouraged believers to want to flee nasty planet earth and go and live in a nice other-worldly paradise.

Now heaven is a wonderful place.  But it is not our ultimate hope.  And whilst we still have breath we are to pray for heaven to come here, not that we might go there.

Jesus did not say in Matthew 5:5 that the meek shall inherit heavenThe meek shall inherit the earth.  The wicked won’t inherit the earth – believers will.  Why? Because the Kingdom is coming to earth.  That’s the direction of travel.

The Son of God has been earthed into our humanity for all time.  He was the advance party.  And Revelation 21 tells us that one day heaven will come to earth and the Father and Son will set up home on a renewed earth.  The Christian hope is not, ultimately, us going to heaven.  It’s heaven coming to earth.

And while we wait for that day, we pray for the ouranification – the heavenization – of this place, as more and more people find grace in the Kingdom of Christ: “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”

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