The Lord’s Prayer — Part 3
“Heaven is a place on Earth,” said the Belinda Carlisle song. But that is not what Christianity teaches. (Even though the words could be applied to God, Sister Act style.)
Heaven is a mystery, it is something we cannot comprehend. All we know is that it is where God lives, where the presence of Jesus dwells and where believers go after death, Even then there is no agreement among Christians as to whether believers go to Heaven immediately on death or have to wait to be resurrected. Heaven is that mysterious that thee is room to disagree.
The term in heaven, or which art in heaven, is another phrase in the Lord’s prayer that does not appear in most of the manuscripts of Luke’s Gospel. It is understandable that Matthew would put emphasis as he has Jesus teaching about the the Kingdom of Heaven, rather tan Mark and Luke’s Kingdom of God. Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience.
Heaven, to the Jews was not only where God lived, it was also hidden, it kept God remote. If you believe in an angry god who smites those who step out of line then you want your God to be remote. But even the Jewish prophet had other ideas. “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down.” Wrote Isaiah. God in heaven was remote, the prophet wisher it not to be so
What Jesus is telling his followers is that like a good Father, God is approachable. God has come down. God is not remote.
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