N.T. Wright observes that somewhere along the way the western Christian church got the primary message of the Gospel a bit off course. He assesses that the primary objective of most teaching and preaching was directed at personal salvation as a means of getting to Heaven. He is convinced that the real objective of the Gospel is to engage us in the work of bringing Heaven to Earth, hence the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” In other words, it’s not about us going to Heaven, but rather about us working to bring Heaven to Earth.
I also find Jesus using many metaphors involving illumination for his existence including, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” and “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” and “the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light.”
These thoughts take me back to the image of when God comes in final victory to set the world right again, he will pull back the veil that currently separates the earthly realm from the spiritual realm. In Revelation John writes of the New Jerusalem, “The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
In the meantime, we are called to bring little glimpses of the Heavenly realm to Earth, and God provides us windows to do so. We are in no way capable of bringing the whole of Heaven to Earth – that remains for God to accomplish but we can and must bring every glimmer of hope to those in the hurting and dark world.
In this context, I am reminded of a story Dr. Charles Allen told from the pulpit on more than one occasion. As I remember it, he attributed it to a very young Robert Louis Stevenson. In the story, Robert is a young lad standing on his bed intently staring out the window as a man works his way down the street lighting the streetlamps in 19th century Edinburgh. His father enters the room and asks what he is doing to which Robert replied, “I’m watching the man punch holes in the darkness.” So it seemed to a young child.
That is exactly what we are called to do – punch holes in the darkness so that God’s heavenly light may stream through.
Seeking heightened awareness of opportunities to punch holes in the darkness for Christ,