What does it look like to bring Heaven to Earth?
Anthony & I recently began watching the new show "The Good Place" starring Kristen Bell about how she ended up in 'The Good Place' (as opposed to 'The Bad Place') following her death on earth. It's from the creators of Parks and Recreation and it's pretty entertaining, but not at all based on biblical truths. Well, that's a lie. God's truth is everywhere and in everything (I dare you to seek and I promise you'll find), but what I mean to say is that 'The Good Place' and Heaven are two vastly different places and experiences... except, there is just one thing that is somewhat similar...
In the show, people in 'The Good Place' are participants in their environment. They live in community, they have have unique experiences and, without giving any spoilers, we learn that in Kristen Bell's character's case, she can even cause changes and shifts and is sometimes asked to work. 'The Good Place' is not just a location that happens to her (that wouldn't be very entertaining), but it is a place in which she is an active contributor.
In scripture, we learn that, much like 'The Good Place' (but a whole lot better), Heaven is NOT passive. We are participants. We worship, we praise, we will serve Him (Revelation 22:3) and have responsibilities much like Adam had in The Garden (Genesis 2:15), we are active and in relationship with God. It is a celebration, an encounter with glory, a job we love and an ongoing experience in which we get to take part. It's not just an eternal paradise vacation of relaxation. It's much, much, much more.
So, if we are called to be image-bearers of God and bring His glory to Earth - to invite Heavenly encounters with His Spirit to those around us - our worship CANNOT be passive. It has to be alive! It has to be active and flowing from a place of love, adoration, and thankfulness - on earth as it is in Heaven.
So, what does that look like? I'm sure right now your mind is conjuring up images of churches filled with ribbon dancers, flags, and tambourines. And, you know what? All of that is okay. But, for some, it may look very, very different. It may look like a whole lot of deep, deep prayer filled with heavy intercession. For others, it may be prophesying. For some, it may look like allowing yourself to become vulnerable and show emotion while singing at church on Sunday mornings, as well as in private. For some, it may look like speaking in tongues and, for others, it may look like dancing wildly before the throne as if you were dancing only for Jesus. And still for some, it may look like radical forgiveness and a letting go of the hurts others have caused you. You see, the point I'm trying to make is that worship will look different for all of us because we are all uniquely created and uniquely loved by our Father.
Worship is not a style of music and it does not take place at specific times and locations. It is our entire lives. It is our "Thank You!" in response to a good, good Father. It is our "I love you!" to our Savior, Jesus Christ, who came down from heaven for each one of us individually simply because He loves us and wants to be close to us. It is our "Yes!" to the Holy Spirit when He leads us into deep waters where we feel like saying "No." It is deep crying out to deep (Psalm 42:7). It's not a matter of what your worship looks like, it's all about where your worship is coming from. Is it coming from selfishness? Or is it coming from your "Thank You"? Is it coming from tradition? Or is it coming from your "I love you"? Is it coming from obligation? Or is it coming from your "Yes!"?
I believe with all of my heart that when we allow ourselves to truly tap into the depths of who we are called to be - when we come back to our First Love - and we worship from that place, it is then we will bring heaven to earth. It is there where lives are transformed, wounds are healed, and the world will see the glory of God on display and come to salvation in Jesus Christ.
Let's get out of our own way and get into His. Let's worship extravagantly from the depths of our souls. Let's praise Him from our "Thank You!", adore Him from our "I love You!" and serve Him from our "Yes!" Let's bring heaven to earth!
"Our Father in heaven, holy is Your name.
Your kingdom come and Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven."