In-Formation: The Vision Domain

​[Note: if you are especially following this ongoing series on spiritual formation, please note that in observance of Lent, it will not appear again until Monday, April 22nd. The 2019 theme series “Here and Now” is pre-scheduled and will continue to be posted each Wednesday.

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Before we look at the light, life, and love of creation, we must recognize one more thing about it.  Creation is not only the dance of the spiritual life, it is the stage where the dance occurs.

When God created the heavens and the earth, it was the domain where the spiritual life is enacted day after day.  We affirm this every time we pray the Lord’s prayer, “thy kingdom come thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  The spiritual life combines and synchronizes heaven and earth–the invisible and visible–in everyday living.

Just as our two eyes give us depth perception, heaven and earth give us spiritual perception–what Jesus called having “eyes that see” (Mark 8:18).  The linkage of heaven and earth enables us to see how we are to live…and where.  It is the linkage Jesus was referring to when he said, “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

It is too easy for the spiritual life to become a “me and Jesus” invisible, inactive, and individualistic thing, rendering us so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.  But spirituality that “in the beginning” united heaven and earth will never let us do that.  The vision we are exploring keeps heaven and earth together.

J.B. Phillips put it this way, “People have their visions, but they are required to work them out in the everyday stuff of human situations….[We have] to express what is spiritually true in the context of ordinary human relationships and ordinary human problems.” [1]

This creation lesson was further confirmed in the incarnation, where “the Word became flesh and stayed for a little while among us” (John 1:14).  This is the paradigm of genuine spirituality: words enacted, what John Wesley called “living faith” and Eugene Peterson termed, “lived theology”–the nexus of heaven and earth.

[1] J.B. Phillips, ‘For This Day’ (Word Books, 1975), February 20.  

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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