‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
When we pray for God’s will we also pray “on earth as in heaven.” Heaven is that place where God is, and where we are totally with God. Even though the war between God and the forces of evil continues: in cancer wards, in Syria, in Yemen, in our words and actions every day, that is in the context of the Cross, where we saw God’s love whole and complete, for the world. No corner of creation has been abandoned by God, and our worship shows the world that there is no corner of creation where God’s will is not being done, even in those areas where God is not acknowledged as God. The world, with all its problems, is still God’s world, where God’s will is being done.
When we pray, “on earth as in heaven”, we’re being thrust into the world, because there’s nowhere else that we will be able to see God’s will appearing other than in the world. If we hope to find some sort of escape hatch from the struggles of the world, our prayer in fact thrusts us, reinforced, back into the heart of the fray.
The challenge of what this means for us is nothing more and nothing less than many small, nameless, acts of kindness and of love, today, and each day. This is what it means to pray “on earth as it is in heaven”.
Eternal God, may we have time to feel the earth between our toes; may we wander under 2,000 acres of sky; may we find our lungs alive with the wind of your creation; and may you know you in each breath, each colour, each step, as we go your way. Amen.
The Rev’d Michael Hopkins is Minister of the Spire Church, Farnham, Elstead URC, and serves as Clerk of the General Assembly.