Heaven On Earth

“This is heavenly.”

We oh so casually describe a great many things as heavenly or divine or simply out of this world. Scrumptious meals, fragrant bouquets of flowers, heart stopping music, gorgeous artwork, intricate craftsmanship, a much needed back massage, or a soak in a hot tub. All of these things experienced by the five basic senses but which move us beyond the sensory and touch on the spiritual.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven. As if they knew how it is in Heaven. I mean a lot of people claim to know, but I’m not so sure I believe them. What did his disciples think Jesus meant by that? Politics, most likely. Are we much different? (let’s not answer that)
Even though I didn’t grow up going to church, I had that prayer, the Lord’s own prayer, drilled into my head in Catholic school probably. I don’t even remember for sure. Lately I’ve been thinking about how I’m supposed to pray for earth to be like Heaven when I’ve never been to Heaven and kind of want to stick around here for a good, long while.
What does Heaven on earth look like, sound like, taste like, feel like, smell like, act like, talk like, move like, work like, parent like, care like, live like, love like…
And am I bringing that Kingdom in my prayers? An earth like a Heaven I’ve never seen. Me? In my life? My love?
As if I even know. Jesus knew. He showed us the way, but I’m not so good at imitating that way because it’s hard and it hurts and the gospel of self-actualization is really tempting compared to the Gospel of take up your cross and be like Jesus. #thetruthhurts
Heaven on earth. That’s been my summer devotional pondering that won’t quit, and it’s brought to you by a monumentally horrible year previous to this one. I can’t do anything but laugh about it now and thank God for all of it, because it was in the midst of all the crap that I felt closest to His Kingdom. And I don’t even know how to explain that because if I had a choice I would still not choose any of it again.
I’m a little afraid to keep praying for God to show me what His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven even is, because everyone in the Bible who encountered anything heavenly went and fell over dead, had their hair go white, melted down in a panic attack, didn’t know what was going on, went mute or blind, or had visions that people 2000 years later still can’t figure out. I’m not feeling those odds.
Maybe that’s why Jesus called us to the cross and the Gospel. Baby steps to the heavenly and we’ll see the Kingdom coming on the way. Sometimes I wonder if we’d pray our casual Jesus prayers so easily if we stopped to think about what we are actually asking God for.
And yet.
I think I’m hard wired to go for the heavenly things anyway, even on this earth, and maybe especially on this earth because this earth doesn’t even KNOW the goodness and glory of God, and if we did we’d want to see His Kingdom coming in all of the things at all of the times and in all of the places. And in those moments where something feels heavenly, maybe it’s not the sensory touching on the spiritual at all. Maybe it’s the other way around – maybe it’s Heaven on earth for a second and I need to pause to take note of what Heaven sounds like in my kids laughter and questions, or what Heaven tastes like in a meal that someone cooked for me, or  what Heaven looks like when I can’t get enough of how gorgeous nature is. And on and on and on. Give me eyes to see, God.
So I will pray the Jesus prayers, but with more intention than I’ve done before. God’s Kingdom on earth as it is Heaven just isn’t a low key casual prayer to be throwing around like that.

copyright (c) 2018 Jenna Pelias // all rights reserved

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