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Heaven 

Christian worship includes many expressions of faith concerning heaven. The Lord's Prayer is addressed to "Our Father in heaven," and prays for God's will to be done "on earth as in heaven" (BCP, p. 364). The Nicene Creed affirms that Jesus Christ "came down from heaven" for our salvation (BCP, p. 358). The Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed affirm that Jesus "rose again" on the third day after his death, and that he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father (BCP, pp. 96, 358). The Sanctus in the eucharistic prayer, based on Is 6:3, proclaims that heaven and earth are full of God's glory (BCP, p. 362). We are to share the joy of heaven with God. Collect 8 from the prayers of the people states that God by the Holy Spirit has made us one with the saints in heaven and on earth (BCP, p. 395). The first of the additional prayers from the Burial of the Dead states that the spirits of those who die in the Lord still live with God, and that the "souls of the faithful are in joy and felicity" with God (BCP, p. 503). The liturgy expresses Christian belief that heaven is not just a remote place, but a relationship of love with God that can be known in daily life and especially in the church. The postcommunion prayer at the Burial of the Dead thanks God for having "given us a foretaste of your heavenly banquet" (BCP, p. 498). Similarly, one of the sentences of administration for the Eucharist is "The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven" (BCP, p. 365). As we can know (at least in part) the heavenly joy of God's love in the present moment, we can also anticipate the eternal perfection of sharing God's love which is yet to come. 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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