The past 16 months have been an experience of a lifetime (and hopefully the only one of its kind in our lifetime). COVID19 seemingly changed things overnight. We have now been vaccinating people in the US for over 6 months, with less than 60% of the population having been fully vaccinated, including all people under 12 years of age. Other countries around the world are at different percentages regarding vaccination rate. Most of the restrictions put in place by the state and federal government have been removed, yet various businesses, organizations, and industries have maintained various levels of restriction. While most of us want the pandemic to be over, we are not all of the same mind with how we should be going about our lives in this liminal space we find ourselves in. This liminal space brings tension and the potential for disagreement with it. It also provides the hope and vision of what is coming.
The word liminal comes from the Latin limen, which means threshold. Liminal space is a threshold, a place of transition and change. Liminal space is the hallway between rooms and in the case of the COVID19 pandemic we find ourselves in the liminal space between the full blown pandemic and its end. This particular liminal space is not an easy one to live in. Not everyone is of the same mind regarding the pandemic, nor have we ever all been of the same mind regarding it. Every country, every state, every city, and every workplace is different when it comes to what the needs are in addressing it. All of this makes it a more complicated liminal space.
Whether we recognize it or not, as Christians, we have been prepared for this liminal space as we are and always have been living in one. The Kingdom of God as we experience it here and now is a liminal space. It is both here and coming, it has arrived and not yet here in full. In his ministry Jesus proclaimed the nearness of the Kingdom* and that people have experienced it in healing and preaching.** In God’s Kingdom as it is present we experience the love and grace of God, which comforts, strengthens, and emboldens us for life in the moment. In God’s Kingdom yet to come we have hope for a future free of pain, sorrow, injustice, and suffering. This hope encourages us to keep striving, seeking and persevering, for the troubles and injustices of this world will not last forever, but have already been overcome in Jesus Christ.
When we find ourselves in the midst of other liminal spaces we can draw on those same truths we find in the liminal space of the Kingdom of God. We have experiences of God’s love and grace in the here and now as well as hope for the future.
So as we walk together through what remains of COVID19 let us lean into God’s love for us by loving others. Let us show others the same grace we have been shown. And let us share the hope that one day there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more sickness.
*From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17
**cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ Luke 10:9-11