What Does Heaven Look Like?
First, go to Matthew 20:1-16 and read the Parable of the Laborers in the
Now that you have read this teaching story told by Jesus, consider this:
In his public ministry, Jesus described heaven as a here-and-now
He called it the Empire of God to contrast it from the Empire of Rome.
This picture of the Beloved Community has become encrusted with
Christology so that the meanings of his parables, aphorisms, and teaching
sermons is hard to discern…hard but not impossible with thoughtful study,
an open mind, and a loving heart.
The economy of this Empire of God is neither capitalism or socialism.
It is an economy in which everyone gets what they need rather than what
they earn or deserve.
It is a community in which there are no needy and there are no privilege.
It is a community in which everyone has the inalienable rights of life,
liberty, the pursuit of happiness, along with adequate income, healthy
food, quality healthcare, pure water, clean air, safe housing, dignity,
honor, and respect.
These are not rights that have to be earned but that are given because
they are needed, just as all of the laborers in the vineyard got their
daily bread no matter how many hours they worked.
We are admonished to conceptualize this beloved community
and bring it into being here in this place and now at this time.
-David Hartson, Pastor
Valley City Congregational United Church of Christ
An ONA people
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The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalist, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damming poverty, but the land in which wealth does not show such contrasts, high and low, where all people have enough—-a modest living—and no one is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.
Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God
“We need to encourage an understanding that inner peace comes from relying on human values like, love, compassion, tolerance and honesty.”