Liminality - A Christian home

Liminality is an idea that expresses what it means to be "in between" or "on the threshold".  This idea is very uncomfortable.  I mean who likes to be "in between" knowing and not knowing.  No one likes to be in a state of waiting to hear if the results are benign or cancerous.

Humans love certainty.

We want to know with certainty what the sex of a child will be, so we get a scan.
We want to know with certainty what tax cuts will stimulate the economy.
We want to know with certainty where our souls are going.
We want to know with certainty who is right and who is wrong.
We want to know with certainty.

The message of the Bible is that there are really few certainties.  Ecclesiastes teaches that the only thing that is certain is that all of life is vapor.  Some might argue that it is certain that those who believe Jesus as Christ are saved.

The larger narrative that I read in the Bible is creation is constantly in a liminal state.

Genesis talks about the Tree of Life.  There is a tree in the beginning of creation.
Revelation 22 speaks of a Tree at the heart of the new creation. There is a tree at the end.
We live between these two trees.
(In case you want to see more, check out the Nooma Video entitled "Trees")

The Bible speaks a lot about being 'in between': 

40 years wondering with Moses chasing liminal things (fire and cloud)
Generations without a king
Generations in exile
Generations waiting on Messiah
Jesus spoke of the kingdom here and yet to come
Jesus is transfigured
Disciples in the upper room after the death of Jesus wondering what to do next
Paul’s concept of “Maranatha” (1 Cor. 16:22) – Our Lord come/ Our Lord has come/O Lord, come

Christianity gets liminality.

The Susan B. Koman 3-day walk is a place that understands liminality.  As wonderful as that walk is, I do not hear much talk about how great the beginning of the walk is.  Even the wonderful celebration at the end, I hear about how great it is, but I have never heard that the end is a reason to come back and walk again.  Rather, I hear the middle is what creates and cements community.  

It is the walking in the middle of the start and end of the 3 days that is the most important.  It is difficult.  It is hot and sweaty.  It is fun.  It is bonding.  

Likewise, Christians are call to live in that liminal state not only to cement community but also create new community.

I pray that I and other Christians would embrace the in between times of our lives and in the world.  Because, as we read in Ecclesiastes the only thing that is certain is that all of life is vapor.