January 7, 2022

Heaven and Earth


So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

Deuteronomy 4:39
From the reader's perspective, John the Baptist's first words in the New Testament contain a message about the nearness of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus preached an identical message in the following chapter. Even more importantly to the average Christian was the prayer that he taught us: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In other words, at the heart of the gospel is the promise that heaven and earth will be one, that the One who was lifted up to heaven and buried in the earth brought atonement (at-one-ment) to the cosmos.

This is not some fancy theologizing. It's the way Christ lived, and it's the way disciples are to live. God is in us and among us, beneath and above us. To treat our neighbors or our planet as anything other than God's belovèd is foreign to the faith we profess. If Christ died to reconcile us to God, to one another, and to the world we inhabit, then our everyday lives are transformed and given a purpose: Peace on earth and peace in heaven.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
 Colossians 1:19-20
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
When I pray, O Lord, for the coming of your kindom, help me to see heaven on earth and your own image in the face of my neighbors.
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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Text selection ©2021 Evangelische Brüder-Unität. All scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.