When we pray “as it is in heaven,” what does this actually mean? What are the characteristics of heaven? This sermon addresses this question by identifying the Kingdom as radically forgiving, radically welcoming and radically peaceful.
“As it is in heaven,” is a quote from the Lord’s Prayer. When we talk about doing something as it is in another place, the first question to ask is, “What is it like in that other place?” What does it look like in heaven so we can enter into that?
In this sermon, Leanne Friesen, Pastor of Mount Hamilton Baptist Church, addresses this question by looking at three parables of Jesus. The first is found in Matthew 18:23-27. Here Jesus tells a story of a man who owed a king ten thousand talents, a ridiculous amount of money, as one talent is worth about 20 years of what a day laborer would earn. No one could ever repay this amount. This man was totally dependent upon the king’s mercy, and Jesus tell us this story because God is radically forgiving. The kingdom of heaven is marked by forgiveness. Jesus continues in this story to tell how the man who had just been forgiven refused to forgive a debt owed to him. Not only is God radically forgiving, but also God wants us to receive this forgiveness to the point that we are able to pass it on to others.
Another story about the kingdom of heaven is told by Jesus in Matthew 13:47-50. God’s kingdom is like a fishing net that gathers all into itself, both the good and the bad, and God will sort it all out in the end. Therefore, we can surmise that God’s kingdom is radically welcoming.
Jesus told a third parable that is highlighted in this sermon about the kingdom of heaven, found in Matthew 13:31-33. This is the parable of the mustard seed, a small, unimportant thing that becomes large and significant. The kingdom might begin small and it might look insignificant, but small acts of the kingdom can be huge. This specifically pertains to being peaceful. God’s kingdom is a kingdom of peace, which on the surface appears to have no importance in the matters of life, but in reality it is a way of life that possesses the ability to impact the flow of history.
As we pray “as it is in heaven,” we are called to embrace the call to be radically forgiving, radically welcoming and radically peaceful. This is not something we wait to receive when we get to heaven at some point in the future. It is a way of life that we can live out, as the future kingdom manifests in the present world.
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