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Friends, today’s Gospel gives us the Our Father. It asks that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven,” but biblical cosmology sees these two realms as interpenetrating fields of force. Heaven, the arena of God and the angels, touches upon and calls out to earth, the arena of humans, animals, plants, and planets.

Salvation, therefore, is a matter of the meeting of heaven and earth, so that God might reign as thoroughly here below as he does on high. Jesus’ great prayer, which is constantly on the lips of Christians, is distinctively Jewish in inspiration: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

This is decidedly not a prayer that we might escape from the earth, but rather that earth and heaven might come together. The Lord’s Prayer raises to a new level what the prophet Isaiah anticipated: “The earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.”

The first Christians saw the Resurrection of Jesus as the commencement of the process by which earth and heaven were being reconciled. They appreciated the risen Christ as the one who would bring the justice of heaven to this world.