An ongoing project…
In a Religion News Service article by John Murawski, N.T. Wright asks: Have we gotten heaven all wrong? The article said:
While heaven is indisputably God’s realm, it’s not some distantly remote galaxy hopelessly removed from human reality. In the ancient Judaic worldview, Wright notes, the two dimensions intersect and overlap so that the divine bleeds over into this world.
It takes radical reframing of what we have been taught to heal the bifurcation in our minds of “here and there” and of “now and later” in regard to heaven, eternal life, and the kingdom of God. This Judaic understanding of heaven had a sense of nearness, as the atmosphere which surrounds us. To remind myself, I pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, who art always near and ever-present to us, may your kingdom and will be upon on the earth as it already is in heaven.” As the Message says, “Set the world right.”
Wright stated that participating in God’s Kingdom work is known in Judaism as “tikkun olam,” or “repairing the world.” He gave a translation of John 3:16 that said:
“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in him should not be lost but should share in the life of God’s new age.”
It is through participation in the life of God and the activity of His kingdom that we experience God. This is so much more than do-goodism. Acts of goodness do not earn salvation or future brownie points with God. Rather, today we experience Life through participation with Him in His kingdom project of repairing the world. This is a way in which we encounter and experience God’s presence here in this time, on this earth.
What an awesome privilege to share in the kingdom life with God and to realize His presence in moments of goodness, kindness, and love. This is sacrament, visible moments of grace in which we encounter Divine Life.