N. T. Wright on how Heaven Is Not Our Home
From Christianity Today
When the church is seen to move straight from worship of God to affecting much-needed change in the world; when it becomes clear that the people who feast at Jesus' table are the ones at the forefront of work to eliminate hunger and famine; when people realize that those who pray for the Spirit to work in and through them are the people who seem to have extra resources of love and patience in caring for those whose lives are damaged, bruised, and shamedâ€”then it is natural for people to recognize that something is going on that they want to be part of.
No single individual can attempt more than a fraction of this mission. That's why mission is the work of the whole church, the whole time. Paul's advice to the Philippiansâ€”even though he and they knew they were suffering for their faith and might be tempted to retreat from the world into a dualistic, sectarian mentalityâ€”was upbeat. "These are the things you should think through," he wrote: "whatever is true, whatever is holy, whatever is upright, whatever is pure, whatever is attractive, whatever has a good reputation; anything virtuous, anything praiseworthy." And in thinking through these things, we will discover more and more about the same Creator God whom we know in and through Jesus Christ and will be better equipped to work effectively not over against the world, but with the grain of all goodwill, of all that seeks to bring and enhance life.
This article is excerpted from his latest book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church