Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy Heaven

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more…I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.’” Revelation 21: 1, 3-4

People have been trying to create heaven on earth for as long as history has been recorded. Perhaps this desire for a paradise on earth is simply a logical result from being kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Maybe there is something within us that wishes we could go back to a place that never will be again. Or maybe we desire it because we know this earth is broken and temporary and that God created us to yearn for wholeness and permanence. But will we EVER find that and be satisfied in this life?

Of course as followers of Christ we should be at every moment seeking ways to bring justice and peace to our earth right now. Just because our hearts and souls long for our eternal home does not mean we should abandon the cries of the oppressed and poor during this earthly journey. We should use our time, talent and treasures to further the kingdom of God on earth. We should seek to serve others and show others the love and hope of the Lord. And yes, we should use our freedom and democracy in America to vote for leaders who will also seek to use the weight and power of the government to join the Church in seeking justice and peace, not only in our land, but around the world as we are able to do.

However, if we think that the government is going to save us, we are sadly mistaken. If we think that some form of economic socialism will bring utopia to the world, we are missing the boat. If we think that we can simply throw enough money, goods and military might around the world and people will be at peace, we are not recognizing the fundamental Truth that every human being is broken, sinful, wounded and capable of giving into the temptations of power, greed, and corruption. There is no human institution, government, military or economic model that will bring paradise to this earth.

Only the grace of Jesus can motivate us and give us the strength to bring any semblance of peace or justice to our world. And occupying the inner cities of the world demanding money and resources and jobs is not going to work either. We need to stop demanding things! We need to humbly SACRIFICE in our own lives and love until it hurts, like Jesus. Then, and only then, will we begin to see true peace and justice in the world. And even then, there will still be brokenness, selfishness and temptations for us to act contrary to love. So does this leave us with no hope? On the contrary, as we continue to cooperate with God’s grace, make sacrifices for others and try to love others by meeting their needs, we also offer hope in a life to come—in a home that is eternal, where no one will go hungry, homeless, naked or in fear; a place where every occupant is completely filled with love, peace, joy and ecstasy forever and ever. Amen?

Dear Jesus, please help me to look at my own life and find ways that I can sacrifice more to help others in need. Help me to fight the temptations of greed and power in my own heart and through my actions to bring others the hope that can be found only in You—the hope of everlasting life in heaven. Amen.

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