a few days ago while riding the bus, I was talking with a friend about heaven & what I thought it would be like. my theology of heaven & the kingdom of god is not incredibly academic. & I think that the bible leaves a lot of mystery & tension on the subject. but I definitely think that, while the kingdom of god that in many ways has not yet come but is still, on some levels, here (as paradoxical as that sounds).
when I was a little kid, I thought of heaven as a place in the sky, a place with a white & gold motif, a place where angels fluttered around. but the older I’ve gotten, the more my heart has been captured by the element of restoration within the kingdom of heaven. the idea of making things new is expressed all through the new testament, but I think especially strongly towards the end of revelation.
you see, sometimes when I am up on a really tall building, I stop & look around at everything down below. I like to imagine what would be different (& what would be the same) if the kingdom of god were really & fully here. I see access to healthcare & strip clubs closed & quality, affordable housing & the end of domestic abuse & a justice system that is truly just (but we wouldn’t even need it, cause there’d be no more violent crime) & the list goes on & on. these are big kinds of thoughts, the kind that make my heart swell & my stomach flip.
& even bigger & more daunting is the idea that, as a child of god, the disconnect is partly my responsibility. I’m supposed to help get things from “not yet” to “here.” heaven won’t fully come until god ushers it in. but we are called to work relentlessly on this beautiful earth to get things as close as possible to the perfect kingdom.
there’s a lot of talk around here about “why I/you/we teach for america.” TFA asks us to reflect on that question, people tweet their answers, we’re called on to share on the subject in large groups. & it’s good to remember what drives us. it’s especially good to remember what drives us when it’s been a long day & the lesson plan did not go like you expected & Eddy threw a paper airplane at Betsy’s head & Sarah called Peter an ugly name. everyone who stays stays for a reason & that motivation is a deeply personal thing.
but for me, when I think about that question, I think about how, when I stand on top of a tall building, among many other things I see a city where every kid (regardless of his zip code) has the opportunity to receive an excellent education from someone who loves him. that’s why I teach for america. but really, in my mind, it’s a lot less like teaching for america & a lot more like teaching for a kingdom. a kingdom that is not yet but very much here. a kingdom that is coming. I can’t wait.