Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace
Using my own words, Walter Brueggeman says
We all want to cling to certainties of birth and death. We want to know where we are going. Are we planting or are we harvesting? We want to see it, taste it and smell it before we go, but the problem is that the gospel is not about having assurances. The gospel is about faithfulness. Being loyal is a relational category where having certainties is a flat mechanical category. God wants our heart no matter what season we find ourselves in.
If there is a time for everything then there is a time between the two points. A time between birth and death. A time between planting and plucking. A time between breaking down and building up. A time between mourning and dancing. This time in between is called liminal space. This is a time that you are reaching out for God, but you have not felt God’s touch. Liminal space is the Israelites wandering in the dessert and Jesus lying dead in the tomb.
Richard Rohr writes often about liminal space. He says, “Nothing good or creative emerges from business as usual. This is why much of the work of God is to get people into liminal space, and to keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential. It is the ultimate teachable space…maybe the only one. Most spiritual giants try to live lives of ‘chronic liminality’ in some sense. They know it is the only position that insures ongoing wisdom, broader perspective and ever-deeper compassion.”
How do we live in the liminal spaces?
One day a disciple came to his master and asked “Master, what can I do to become enlightened?” The master replied, “As much as you can do to make the sun rise.” Confused, the disciple replied, “Then of what use are all these disciplines?” The Master said, “so that when the sun begins to rise, you do not miss it!”
As Disciples of Christ, we remain faithful in our relationship with the Divine no matter the season so we don’t miss all that God is doing in our world!