Through the centuries, the Christian Church taught people to focus on a life to come after this “earthly” life ends. In many circles, about the only thing that mattered was whether people would go to heaven when they die. Everything else was not important.
Jesus, however, taught us how to live in this world. The good news was that the kingdom of God had come here – was now a present reality in our midst. Whenever Jesus used language about what happens beyond this world, he was making a point about how to live here and now in the kingdom of God.
From beginning to end, Jewish and Christian scriptures reveals a good creation and God’s desire for a world of peace and freedom, justice and health, and love for God and one another. God works in and through us to live so that world may become a reality.