Preparing for Worship – Brianna Childs, pastoral resident.
In the Ithaka Sunday School class last week we talked about liminal spaces in our lives. As we continue in this season of Advent, there is much to reflect upon as we wait.
Richard Rohr describes these liminal spaces as “where we are betwixt and between, having left one room or stage of life but not yet entered the next.” These are the waiting room moments of our lives — when we often feel most out of control. Yet Rohr also describes them as when we are the most teachable and even the only ways we can really grow and change.
You’ve gotten a shocking diagnosis. You’re living in a pandemic. You’ve lost a loved one. You’re unsure what next step to take in a job. You’re waiting on a new pastor.
When we are waiting, sometimes we can’t help but wait with some secret (or not so secret) expectations. What does it look like to find the difference between expectancy and expectation? Rather than grasping for control, maybe we can open our fists and free our minds to be ready for a surprise instead.
We have been in a liminal space together, Wilshire. When many of us may have felt the most out of control, I believe we also had the opportunity to learn about ourselves and about the world around us.
There is somehow the both/and — while it feels like waiting means we have our hands tied, we can actually actively make peace and be present to the beauty of our lives right where we are. While we work hard and make change on this earth with a hope of what could be, we also, every now and again, might just open ourselves up to be completely surprised by the mystery of it all.
Somehow, God keeps swooping in to get our attention when we least expect it. God keeps teaching us in the messy middle of these liminal spaces throughout our lives.
Whether it’s through awaiting the birth of a newborn Savior or awaiting the announcement of a new pastor, our waiting is not in vain. On this second Sunday of Advent, the day of peace, let us wait well, opening ourselves up to changes and surprises along the way.