Pop singer Belinda Carlisle reminds us in her 1987 hit “Heaven is a Place on Earth” that “in heaven love comes first.” That’s what we want, isn’t it — in a cruel and broken world — for love to come first? This is the core meaning of Jesus’ most important words in the Gospel of Matthew, describing for us the importance of love, so that “the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matt. 4:17). We do not have to wait to experience heaven after we die. Our baptisms ground us in a heavenly way of life, not just in an eternal assurance. Baptism into Christ calls Christians to be responsible for helping to bring wholeness to a hurting world: to create heaven on earth.
Beginning this morning, and for the next five weeks, Pastor Erik, along with seminarians Chris Michaelis and Stephanie Berkas, will guide the 9am Sunday morning adult education in an exploration of the concept of the “kingdom of heaven” that figures so heavily into the Gospel of Matthew. Each week we’ll be focusing on the passage from Matthew that will be read in worship later that morning. Each week in this 6-week study explores a question related to the theme:
- Jan. 26: “Who wants heaven on earth?” (Mt. 4:12-23)
- Feb. 2: “What does the kingdom of heaven have to do with us?” (Mt. 5:1-12)
- Feb. 9: “Are we the right ones to bring heaven to earth?” (Mt. 5:13-20)
- Feb. 16: “If this is heaven on earth, what’s up with all the laws?” (Mt. 5:21-37)
- Feb. 23: “Bringing heaven to earth sounds hard — do we have what it takes?” (Mt. 5:38-48)
- Mar. 2: “Will you trust God for help in bringing heaven to earth?” (Mt. 6:24-34)
“Heaven on Earth: Studies in Matthew” — Sundays at 9am from January 26 to March 2 in the Lesher Lounge (2nd Floor of the Parish House). Team taught by Pastor Erik and Seminarians Chris Michaelis and Stephanie Berkas. To RSVP, click here.