Sunday, July 05, 2015

On earth as in heaven

We Christians pray it daily, for God's will to be done on earth as in heaven. The connection between earth and heaven is seen many times in the Scriptures, in different images. In the letter to the Hebrews, we read about priests at the earthly tabernacle:
They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and a shadow of what is in heaven. That is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: 'See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.' (Hebrews 8:5, which in turn cites Exodus 25:40)
There are a number of places in Exodus where it is written that the earthly sanctuary and contents were on a pattern laid out by God, to be like heaven (Exodus 25:9, 25:40, 26:30, 27:8).

That section of Exodus is best known for God's meeting with Moses on Sinai. And God's meeting with Moses on Sinai is best remembered for the Ten Commandments. The pattern shown on the mountain also seems to be part of the meeting on Sinai. If the Tabernacle is the embodiment of the beauty and glory of God, the place of the Divine Presence on earth, then the Ten Commandments are the parallel to that in creating a people who embody the beauty and glory of God, and God's will on earth: a people that does not lie, or steal, or murder, or break marriage vows, or scheme after their neighbor's things, a people that crowns their work with a day of blessing and rest that recaptures paradise on earth. The beauty and holiness of the tabernacle is meant to be woven also into our lives. The Commandments were not presented as dry duties; they were presented alongside news of expert workmen building items of stunning beauty. "On earth as in heaven" is a challenge to each generation. May we gain an understanding of the beauty of what we are called to build.


Martin LaBar said...

An important admonition.

Weekend Fisher said...

Or aspiration ... :)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF