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20050717

Liminal Space

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Romans 8:26-28 [The Message]


I've never been pregnant. With a child, that is. But I've carried within me ideas, dreams and plans that longed to be expressed and put into action. And I've had my fair share of 'wordless sighs and aching groans'. There's pain involved in the birthing of creativity. Part of that pain is the discomfort that comes from being in between states.

Anthropologist Victor Turner provides the phrase, "liminal space", a phase in which we live on the threshold of a new way of being, coming to terms with ambiguity, discovering reality in a marginal, transitional state. In the liminal space we're not who we used to be. But we're not yet who we're destined to be.

The good news according to Paul is that we are not alone in the liminal space. God's Spirit is a natural here. After all, Genesis 1 begins in this context. When we find ourselves giving up on the future, God's Spirit keeps us breathing, hoping, pushing, exploring, communicating.

For thoughts on liminal space and worship see today's notes at Pacific Highlander

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