Repairing the World

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.

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4 thoughts on “Repairing the World

  1. A counter balance to the ‘pie in the sky when you die’ mentality of much pseudo Christianity. I like the idea of heaven overlapping with this realm of consciousness known commonly to us as ‘reality’; parallel universes and all that as suggested by some quantum physics reaearch. Perhaps we can live in both realms at the saame time as Paul suggested. This idea also balances out those who charge blindly into the world of form to try and erradicate all social evils. An important aspect of our time here but definitely not the whole story. Mystery holds both views in tension.

  2. So true Dylan. I think it is more than just a suggestion from Paul, but rather his attempt to explain the overlap of kingdom life on the earth. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we experience participation in the life of Christ and eternal life as a present reality.

  3. So true Linda. Eternal life is not something one enters when they die but one which they gain entrance to in the now when they are born of the spirit.

  4. Yes Bob, and as I continue to ponder this, I am really struck with the thought that as we join God in “repairing the world,” we not only participate in His work, but we participate in His life; it is the activity of worship and communion with Him.

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