Day 21: May 22, 2019: Colonies of Heaven

Matthew 6:9-13: Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, was named “the richest man in modern history” after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018 (Wikipedia). Just today I was listening to an Economist podcast which discussed Bezos’ vision to colonize space. He believes that the only way to solve the problem of the “infinite demand” of the ever-growing human population meeting the “finite resources” of planet earth is to move out beyond the confines of our atmosphere. Bezos envisions – and is investing his wealth in working toward – building giant space habitats which will be able to provide abundant living for millions of humans.

This vision to get humans “into the heavens” contrasts with the Christian vision of bringing heaven to earth. Jesus came proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17), and he taught his disciples to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10). As followers of Jesus we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We are called to embody a way of life together in which the hungry are fed, the sick are treated and made well, the homeless are given shelter, and the refugee finds welcome and safety (Mt. 25:31-46). If we will truly love one another in these ways, we will be a colony of heaven on earth, pointing to the day when God will unveil the new heavens and earth as the eternal home of righteousness.

Even if, at some point in the future, humans succeed in colonizing space, we will not succeed in leaving behind the problems which plague us here on earth. For, no matter where we go into space, we will take our greed and selfishness and violence with us. The great problem of human history isn’t “infinite demand” vs “finite resources.” It is, rather, rebellion against God which leads to humans destroying and depriving one another. The abundance Bezos hopes for from habitable space stations will only come when we submit ourselves to God’s reign and joyfully share his unlimited resources with one another.

Church, let’s show the richest man in the world, and the millions of other people who think that technology will solve our problems, that there is a better way. A Kingdom of Heaven way. Let’s be colonies of heaven here and now. Let’s bear witness to the reality of God’s rule by loving one another, practicing forgiveness, and caring for the least of these. We may not have Jeff Bezos’ wealth. But then again, he doesn’t have God’s wealth! May God’s Kingdom come, indeed!

Take time to pray the Lord’s Prayer.