“Liminal” comes from the study of anthropology, and refers to the in-between phase that describes the transition from childhood to adulthood; in traditional cultures this included rites of passage that deliberately dis-located the individual’s sense of self so that a new identity could be formed that would carry them into adulthood. Deliberate uncertainty for the purpose of new identity! Not a journey most of us would choose to take!
Yesterday was Good Friday — the day when we remember the almost unthinkable: when God died. Or, more accurately, the God/Human Jesus. This reality is what makes possible the forgiveness of all that is wrong and the setting right of all that has been mis-aligned. Not just humans “fell” in Genesis 3, and not just humans will be set right. Colossians 1:15-20 makes that clear.
Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday — that day when we remember the utterly unanticipated: death ceasing to be fatal. Until then, death was an ending; now, death has become a passage-way to the next stage of life. This has meaning not just for humans, but for all of Creation. All things can be made new (Revelation 21:5), not just humans.
These are epic realities, that we understand in part but the mystery of which goes far beyond the ability for our little minds to understand.
But today is Saturday. We are in-between. The body is in the tomb. We live, with the disciples, in the stunned aftermath of the dream dying. (Later we will learn that our dream was too small and human-defined and that the death was a critical part of God’s dream for a New Creation, but we don’t know that yet.)
This is a liminal space. We are dis-located. It is important that we not forcefully seek to re-locate ourselves, but rather learn to wait for God to do that. Maybe this is why so often in Scripture we are told to wait.
In reality, all of our lives are lived in this in-between space, in the “now and the not yet” of God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom has come, but it is here in seed form, and we crave the fully-realized form. Every time we hear a story such as what happened in Garissa, Kenya, two days ago, our guts cry out “no!”. This is our cry for the Kingdom — our cry for justice and healing. This is the cry of those who live in a liminal space.
We know that one day all will be made new. And we know that Jesus’ death and resurrection means that there is no doubt that it will happen — it’s as good as done. But it is NOT done . . . yet! Today, and every day, in this liminal space, we live with faith, our lives pointing towards a new creation. We are a fragment of the future.