Popular contemporary theology teaches that we live a life apart from God, we accept his promise of forgiveness and salvation, and we hang on through the rest of life until Jesus returns to transport us away from all of this to a place of paradise. We remain right where we are but we hang on desperately to the promise of relief somewhere else; one day Jesus will lead us away to heaven to avoid the trials and tribulations of this world.
Jesus taught something radically different: this life on earth is meant to be lived as a preview of eternity. Earth isn't heaven, but according to Jesus we can live a life that is something more than just hanging on, persevering, struggling through.
Jesus taught his followers to pray the "Lord's Prayer" that prayer incorporates an idea, a radical concept for many of us, even though we have heard and said this prayer over and over at our bedside as a child, or in Sunday school, or at Christmas and Easter services that our parents made sure we attended, or as a recitation each week during the worship services. We have said it so often by rote that we don't even think about what it means, but it is at the very core of Jesus' message of hope-the central theme of his ministry. The radical idea? We may live in God's kingdom enjoying a glimpse of heavenly paradise while we live this life on earth. Never again will we have to wonder Are We There Yet?.