The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like…
Stephen V. Hatch of Leawood, KS, USA
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. -Matthew 13:44
I traveled a lot in my assignments working for the church. One assignment included international travel which meant long flights and trips that lasted two to three weeks.
I love to travel and experience new cultures, as well as share in new expressions of the gospel around the church. Being with members and friends of the church is invigorating, and I always discovered the Divine in all facets of my journeys. I found some of my greatest joys on those trips, and there was always a sense of sadness when I left.
However, the feeling of coming home for me is truly heaven-like. To come home to my family and my place of sanctuary is one of my images of what heaven must be like. My home is the place where I know I am loved without conditions, where I find my foundation and my refuge. It is that feeling that no words can describe other than I’M HOME. Whatever heaven is, it must be like coming home.
Our lives are journeys of discovery and experience. We have been told in scripture, “We are that we might have joy,” and I believe that should be something we experience every day of our lives. But my faith tells me that beyond this life, and in a complete reconnection with a God of love and grace, we will experience that same unconditional love, refuge, and joy. It is the perfect “coming home” after our travels. We are truly HOME.
“Awake, my soul!” (Psalm 57:8 NRSV)
The Prayer of the Heart
Early Christian disciples desired to take seriously the scripture mandate to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The prayer of the heart invites us to pray “continuously” by repeating and returning to a prayer phrase planted for intentional reflection and deepening. Choose a word or phrase (from scripture, hymnody, or personal reflection) that has meaning for you. The Jesus Prayer is one form of the prayer of the heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:35-43). Invite this simple phrase to repeat in your heart throughout the day, awakening your soul to God’s presence.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.