• Jesse Smith

Liminal space

I cannot quit thinking about the brevity of life at the beginning of this Lenten season. The thought is not overwhelming me or taking me to a dark place but rather it is creating a renewed urgency for life. Certainly, we’re all more aware of our own impermanence because of the pandemic. And perhaps the silver lining in that awareness is the fact that we want to make more of our moments count.

We are living in a liminal space right now. Whether we realize it or not we have left something behind that we can no longer return to. What we left behind was familiar but we were forced to leave the familiar. And we are not yet at our new destination. We do not yet know what life will look like post-pandemic. We are living in the uncertainty of the in-between and it is as if we have all been on a pandemic pilgrimage, in a sense.


Victor Turner, the renowned anthropologist, coined the term “liminality,” to describe the transition between boyhood and manhood. And since that time the word has been used to describe the middle space between two separate worlds.


So how do you envision your life being different as a result of this year-long pilgrimage we have been on? What are the things that you have had to stop doing that you are eagerly ready to return to when you are able to do so safely? And what are the things that you were doing before that you do not intend to pick back up again? Finally, do you share that renewed sense of urgency to make your moments and days count like never before?


The Israelites wandered in the liminal space, known as the wilderness, for 40 years. Leaving the familiar behind proved to be quite challenging. Likewise, setting their mind on a future promise was not easy.


And so it is with us.


Sustaining God, would you continue to guide the people of Christ UMC by your Spirit, through the familiar, the liminal, and the new. May we be certain of your voice that guides us and may we have the audacity to follow where you lead. It’s in the name of Jesus that we pray, Amen.


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