Well, much to the disgust of certain among us, next Sunday it will come time for me to preach again at my church. I apologise ahead of time for all the souls I will be leading into hell with my heresy and ‘bible denying’…but preach I will and this is what I will be exploring; the liminal space that God calls us all into and only in which can God truly speak to us.
Liminality comes from the Latin, Limina which means Threshold – that place that is neither in, nor out – a place all of its own that defies geographic or locationally based descriptors. Jesus, when he entered the desert and encountered his testing, entered into just such a liminal space – times of greatest change for each one of us occurs in those times, places adn spaces that are neither what life has been nor what it will be.
For example – The Jews wandering in the desert for 40 years; they were no longer slaves, and yet they were not yet the nation Israel they would one day become. Jona, in the belly of the fish – was not yet the prophet, but was also no longer the runaway. I was made redundant from my job with a major charity early last year – and it was a time of great pain and angst for me – questoins about my future and my role on this planet abounded for me – If I was not this, then what was I? The journey through that time of questioning and testing ended by delivering a whole new potential future for me that I had not even contemplated and would never have done had I remained employed in the same job. Sometimes we need to be rocked out of our comfortablity to be awakened to the mystery that is the call of discipleship in our lives.
Jesus entered into this state of liminality of his own free will adn fully knowing that ahead of him lay a time of testing and trial, but out of which he knew would grow whole point of his mission – his representatoin of us, having lived as one of us and endured all that is thrown at us but having overcome where we could not, and can not. Often God shakes us out of our own softness and self induced stupours – but what if we were to openly accept times of trial, times of liminality? What if we didn’t wait for God to push us, but we entered in willingly?
Mike Frost in this video asks if we have lost the ability to nurture beauty and wonder and foster new possibilities in our communities? Does God invite us into forced disequilibrium and liminal spaces where we will encounter Godself more fully and completely…much the same as the desert fathers, Francis of Asisi, Brother Andrew adn all those who left all to allow themselves to be moved along in life by the direction of the Spirit?
Are we open this Lenten period to willingly enter into a time of liminality and to encounter God in spaces where we are not in control?