The Lord’s Prayer: On Earth As It Is In Heaven
(Continued from page 1)
Consider Martha’s behavior in the Book of Luke. As with the tale of Jesus and the scribe, this story can be read as a parable, as can the Gospel books as a whole. In this parable, we find Jesus arriving at Martha’s village where he is welcomed into her home. Martha immediately goes about making elaborate “preparations” for her honored visitor (as was the custom), while her sister Mary stays in the main room to listen to Jesus’s teaching. Martha gets upset with Mary for not helping her, and asks Jesus if he approves of her sister’s behavior.
Jesus replies, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and trouble yourself about many things; but only a few are necessary, or rather one. Mary has chosen the good part, and it shall not be taken away from her.”1 Like Martha, we also make ourselves anxious over superficial customs and demands (which shift like the wind), rather than choosing to attend to the essentials, the good parts, that the gospel of Christ reveals and are ours to keep.
Beyond divisions that are driven by our personalities and circumstances (which vary among individuals), we must also explore our generally divided view of God and his creation. While it’s true that heaven and earth are different worlds, their difference is the same as that of a two–sided coin. At the ground of its existence, the sides are unified—for both were created by God and nothing created by God (who is spirit)2 can be anything but spirit. This is why Jesus tells us that what Christ allows and forbids on earth will likewise be in heaven:3 because they are one and the same.
Jesus refers to himself both as the Son of Man and the Son of God to illustrate the divided kingdom in which we live. It was only by reconciling the two sides, and shuffling off his limited ego identity, that he was able to manifest himself as the Christ. When he says that Satan cannot drive out Satan,4 Jesus is really saying that the ego cannot drive out the ego. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to wake us up to the fact that we are much more than what our egos lead us to believe. We, like Jesus, are on a journey as children of God and Man to unify heaven and earth in Christ, which when fulfilled has the ability to transform the world.
To become “born again”5 is thus a spiritual and a material matter. The wine and bread eaten at the Last Supper6 are symbols of the Holy Spirit working through flesh and blood to breathe life into the gospel of Christ (and the kingdom of heaven). Holy Communion therefore shouldn’t be viewed just as an occasional activity that takes place in church, but a daily communion between our physical bodies, our earthly lives, and Christ—in order that we might fulfill the will of the Father and enjoy his heavenly kingdom, the Son of Man and Son of God having become one.
Read Chapter 6: Give Us This Day (Gathering The Moment At Hand)
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- As they continued their journey, Jesus came to a village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her house. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who seated herself at the Master’s feet, and listened to his teaching; 40 But Martha was distracted by the many preparations that she was making. So she went up to Jesus and said: “Master, do you approve of my sister’s leaving me to make preparations alone? Tell her to help me.” 41 “Martha, Martha,” replied Jesus, “you are anxious and trouble yourself about many things; 42 But only a few are necessary, or rather one. Mary has chosen the good part, and it shall not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38–42 [↩]
- God is spirit; and those who worship him must worship spiritually and truly. – John 4:24 [↩]
- I tell you, all that you forbid on earth will be held in heaven to be forbidden, and all that you allow on earth will be held in heaven to be allowed. – Matthew 18:18 [↩]
- How can Satan drive out Satan? – Mark 3:23 [↩]
- “In truth I tell you,” exclaimed Jesus, “unless you are reborn, you cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3 [↩]
- While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and, after saying the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said: “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and, after saying the thanksgiving, gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the new testament,” he said, “which is poured out on behalf of many. – Mark 14:22–24 [↩]