by Eric Muhr
During spring break this year, I spent most of my week in heaven. No Instagram pics of Jesus and me in front of the pearly gates. But that’s because I didn’t know. Didn’t realize where I was or how I got there until I was halfway home to Oregon.
A small group—15 of us from three churches—drove down to Mexico this year. We camped in the desert. Built a house. Ate some of the world’s best tacos. And each morning we spent time together in scripture, in prayer, in conversation, in silence. On one of those mornings, we considered a passage where Jesus teaches his disciples to pray. You probably know that passage. I did. But I hadn’t really thought about a phrase at the center of that famous prayer: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about that phrase. About what it might mean. On the way home, mulling over that passage, I wondered: If God’s will is done in heaven, might we enter heaven by putting ourselves in places where God’s will is being done? Where the hungry eat? Where the thirsty drink? Where the stranger is invited in?
I remembered Denis and Elizabet, raking up piles of dog poop, clearing out stones, cleaning their neighbor’s lot. I remembered Ruben, visiting with men who lived at the municipal dump, working together as friends to unload the truckload of trash I’d brought from our worksite. I remembered Ambrosio, making the trip from his home in Arizona early each morning to build a staircase and help finish a home for Denis and her family. I remembered Xavier, passing around a bottle of Coke at lunch, laying the brick walls for a septic tank, dreaming with Troy about what kind of home they might build together next year. I remembered Vene and Rafael, their love for this people, the hours they spent frying sopes and flautas, the team they gathered to feed us. I remembered Rafael’s admonition at the end of the week, that this home for Denis didn’t come from us. It was the result of God’s love.
Because even though we camped in the desert, built a house, ate some of the world’s best tacos, God did the work. Made us neighbors. Helped us to see one another, to experience community, to work side by side as friends. And heaven got a little bit bigger, continued its invasion into the strongholds of isolation, of suffering, of selfishness here on earth.