Jesus thought us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is heaven”. In this day-and-age when social media is so prevalent in our lives, the news travels quickly from one part of the world to another. And bad news travels even quicker, or at least it seems that way at times. We don’t even have to go as far as listening to the news. It is enough to talk to people we know, or to look into our own lives, to see that we need healing, this world needs healing. In other words, this world is crying out to receive more of God, more of His presence and more of His kingdom here in our midst. We need the prayer that Jesus thought us to become reality, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”.
Initially in the garden of Eden, before the Fall, there was no illness, no distress, no anxiety, no discord, and we all long to return to that place in one way or another. It must have been amazing to live in that kind of environment – it sounds like a life where everything is in its right order and there is perfect peace. And yet, that’s not how the story ended.
Now we live in the moment of history between the harmony our ancestors enjoyed in the garden of Eden, and between the promise of heaven, where “He will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will be removed forever (Revelation 21:4).” Each and every one of us needs healing. Healing is not only for those who are terminally ill or who have experienced deep traumas. We have all been scarred with some experience that has affected us, or still affects us, and that needs to be brought to God so that He can put the balm of His love and the balm of His truth over it. Jesus healed when He encountered people, and that is also how His kingdom spread. Every experience of healing here on this earth is an experience of heaven, a touch of God’s presence. It is an experience of God’s kingdom coming to inhabit our reality now in our daily lives.
The key to allowing God’s kingdom to inhabit us more fully is, I believe, in the Gospel where Jesus visits His friends, Martha and Mary. Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (Luke 10:39). You can imagine the scene: Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him. There is something peaceful about that…the exchange of love is happening. Mary is fed in the presence of Jesus. Then comes Martha, worried, distracted with what needs to be done, and she does not notice this atmosphere of peace and love. Not until Jesus points it out. “Martha, Martha,” He said, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41-42).”
The difference between Martha and Mary is in the attitude of their heart. In the presence of Jesus, Mary is exposed to the depths of His love. This kind of love-relationship with God cannot be taken away from us, yet it also cannot but spill over into our interactions with each other. Mary’s attitude does not mean she will not do anything, but rather that her doing will have a different flavour. Out of this love-relationship with Jesus we bring God’s kingdom to this earth. Martha, or any one of us when we are worried, disappointed, hurt, in any kind of need, are invited into a similar relationship with Jesus, where we can bring our worries, stresses, discouragements, needs and over time encounter His healing and His peace.