Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bringing Heaven Down to Earth

These are rough notes of a sermon preached on Sunday, 2nd October, as we shared in the Sacrament of Baptism as Emma and Carl brough Dylan to be baptised.

How do you get into heaven?

Wrong question.

How does heaven get into you?

Much more exciting.

It’s not about us getting from this life on earth into some life hereafter in heaven, it’s about bringing heaven down to earth, right into the lives we lead here on earth.

So what is heaven?

Not a place

Deep within, all around, beyond … it is where and when all is well, where God’s presence is all around, where God’s will for good prevails

It is a spiritual dimension, it is if you like the God dimension.

How do you know what God is like, what God’s will is, what it’s like when God’s presence is real, when God rules, when God’s will prevails?

The accumulated wisdom of 1500 years in stories, poems, experiences shared by people that have come together in the Bible and culminate in the story of Jesus Christ – in him this spiritual dimension of God –

Teaching – love God, love neighbour
Bringing healing where there is hurting
Alongside us through a hurting world

Opens up for us a way of understanding God - a loving God – spiritual dimension is filled with love.

He gave us words to sum up that experience.

The Lord’s prayer

Our Father who art in heaven

God as a loving father – whose realm is in that spiritual dimension which is deep within, all around and far beyond all space and far beyond all time

Hallowed be thy name

Hallowed – special – this is something different – this is something to honour to make a difference. Someone I can get to know and honour

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

That’s the exciting bit.

It’s not a prayer – dear God help us to get to heaven


It’s a prayer that God’s rule, God’s will be done here on earth, in the everyday world around us, just as it is in heaven, in that spiritual realm, that spiritual dimension God’s rule, God’s will to be done here on earth just as it is in heaven, all we think of in that spiritual realm, that spiritual dimension – the prayer is that that should be made real here on earth.

It is made real in Jesus …

God’s love is made real for all of us …

Celebrate God’s dimension coming to us – in a babe – but then in the hope that that will shape the life this little one lives.

What will that look like?

That’s where it is the responsibility of each one of us to live out this God dimension in our lives -

In personal living and in family life, in the work place and in the world around us – where each person counts, everyone matters, respect and honouring each person, all based around love for God and love for neighbour.

We are also called to play our part, however small that may be in shaping the world around us - the way society and the world around us works. We play our part in doing that wherever we are – and in whatever way …

Church family in what we do – in August we collect for Christian Aid’s emergency appeal for those affected by famine in East Africa …

But in September we moved on leading up to our Harvest collection to support a fascinating sustainable agriculture project called Send A Cow – enabling tiny-scale farmers not only to build their own livelihood but also pass on all they have gained to others too – in Uganda, Kenya, and a number of other African countries.

And then this month we turn to support a local counselling service run through the churches called Listening Post – meeting particular needs.

This is all about bringing heaven down to earth …

As we then bring heaven down to earth that God-dimension becomes at the heart of all we do and becomes part of us … and that is not bounded by dying – for that God dimension is deep within, all around and beyond all we are and all we do.

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