The Overflow of Heaven on Earth: Vienna 2018Hannah Rich - 24 Oct 2018
A few weeks ago, hundreds of people from all over the world gathered for our 24-7 Prayer European conference in Vienna, Austria. Hannah shares her experience of what it was like:
It is hard to find words for the sense of ‘all-in’ I found in the 2018 24-7 Conference in Vienna.
It wasn’t a weekend for being half-hearted or uncertain. We gave our lives to following the Jesus story, coming together to worship, to be reconciled; seeking a glimpse of heaven breaking in to our chaotic, divided world of 2018.
But the thing I’ll remember most came in a seminar by a Macedonian pastor. He spoke about 2 Corinthians 5:20:
"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God"
We usually think of ambassadors in the modern sense – the lone, important people in big houses and black cars sent out to represent a whole country overseas.
But we learnt that at the time Paul was writing, ambassadors were normal people – doctors, bricklayers, teachers – sent out by the Roman Empire to inhabit cities that they’d captured.
These people were tasked with rebuilding the cities in the image of Rome, so that when the emperor came to visit, he would feel at home.
As Christ’s ambassadors on earth, we don’t live on our own in distant outposts of the kingdom. We are called to live our normal, everyday lives in such a way that we begin to see things on earth take the shape of heaven.
The seminar ended with a centuries old quote from John Chrysostom: ‘God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle’ – which was echoed throughout the weekend as we sang, ‘I see heaven invading this place’.
It is no exaggeration to describe our night of worship in the cathedral as the closest thing to heaven I have experienced on this earth.
From the ancient of the cathedral, to the new of St Florian’s Church, to the somewhere-in-between of a tent in the Bishops’ Palace - heaven came.
If we’re here to make this world somewhere Jesus feels at home, Vienna felt like we were onto something.
Seminar recordings from Vienna 2018 are now available to download and listen to on our Vienna Talks page.