Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Bible In Miniature: The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

In the beginning, heaven and earth were the same place. In the garden of Genesis 1 and 2, soil and spirit were one. There was no sacred-secular divide. God dwelled with his people.

Then came disconnection, division, disruption. Heaven and Earth separated. They became incompatible.

Centuries later one man, God in human flesh, material and spiritual as one, bridged the divide. By fully engaging with, and triumphing over, disconnection, division and disruption, Jesus made heaven and earth compatible again. And instigated the Bible's grand finale: the marriage of heaven and earth.

'Prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband', heaven will come down to earth. The two will become one again.
And in a glorious, climactic crescendo, a thunderous voice will declare, 'Now the dwelling of God is with his people.'

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See the thing is, for many the purpose of Christianity is to get into heaven.
For many this future destination will be spiritual.
Disembodied.
Think floaty.
Think clouds.
Other than the mission of rescuing souls, for many today's life and today's world have no purpose. A few years ago, I even heard one preacher totally disregard 2005's efforts to 'Make Poverty History'. Because the point is to escape elsewhere.
I just couldn't believe my ears.

Thankfully, Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, presents an alternative view. In 'Surprised by Hope,' he writes, 'What you do in the present - by painting, teaching, digging wells, writing poems, caring, etc - all these things will last into God's future'.

And in a recent podcast (16/8/09) Rob Bell said, 'Our hope is not in evacuation from earth, but in engagement with it.'

We engage with earth, we pursue the end of poverty, because heaven and earth are engaged for marriage.

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