On Christmas Eve, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 catch a glimpse of something that no one else had seen before. The crew was running experiments and studying the impact of orbiting the moon in the build up to landing on the moon. As a part of the experiments, they became the first human beings to orbit the moon, and thus the first human beings to travel to the dark side of the moon. Apollo 8 was about halfway through their mission when William Anders looked out the window and saw the earth rising above the moon, like the sun rises over the horizon on earth.
In an instant, the three man crew of Apollo 8 were the first human beings to ever witness an ‘earthrise’. They had witnessed something that no one else had. They frantically looked for their color film so they could try to capture the picture as best as possible. They understood that they had an obligation to share this sight with as many people as possible when they got home. It was too beautiful, too incredible, too important not to share.
Christians have a similar responsibility.
Scripture has a lot to say about the “Kingdom of God/Heaven”. It’s worth selling everything for (Matthew 13:45-46). It’s beautifully diverse (Matthew 13:47). It catches you unexpectedly (Matthew 25:1-13).
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the Kingdom, though, is this: It’s already here. In both Matthew and Mark’s Gospels, Jesus begins His ministry by declaring that the “Kingdom is here”. It’s worth emphasizing this, because so many Christians today are waiting on the Kingdom to show up. They’re looking up to skies, waiting on the trumpet to sound, when they Kingdom will finally “come”.
The problem is that with so many Christians looking at the sky for the Kingdom, there aren’t a lot who can see the Kingdom right in front of them. They’re waiting on raptures and a white horse so much that they can’t see the Kingdom in the single mom who is getting sober, or the family that is reconciling after years of turmoil.
Christians have had a glimpse of what will be (future tense) in our relationship with Christ. But we’ve also had a glimpse of what CAN be (present tense) in our relationship in Christ. We should be able to see glimpses of what Heaven will be like already, and not simply waiting until that fabled “someday”.
It’s like we’re the Apollo 8 astronauts. We have seen something that not everyone has glimpsed. We’ve seen the earth rise above the moon. We’ve seen the world in a new way. And now we have to do everything we can to share that image with the world.
In Romans, Paul writes to the church there saying that he has an obligation to give Christ to the Greeks and to the barbarians (his way of saying every ethnic group of people). “I have a responsibility both to Greeks and barbarians” (Romans 1:14).
If you’re a Christian, you’ve seen something that not everyone has.
And you have a responsibility to help others see the same thing.
Remember, I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.