favourite words 1- ‘liminal’

I like words. Some words I like a lot.

I love the way that some words draw you into themselves. They give a little, but suggest so much more.

Some words contain whole sermons. One of them is this one;

lim·i·nal adjective
Etymology: Latin limin- limen threshold.

1 : of or relating to a sensory threshold
2 : barely perceptible
3 : of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition : in-between: Transitional.

As Christians, we come into an understanding of our position caught between this temporal world and the next. We are people whose allegiance is to a New Kingdom- the one Jesus spoke about again and again. A Kingdom that is both here and now, but also promised and yet to come.

We are called to be ‘in’ this world, but not ‘of’ it.

It is this present-future tension that we Christians live in. We exist in a space that is pregnant with the presence of Christ, and filled with hope for what is to come.

You could say that we Christians occupy a time and place that is liminal.

We live in the presence of the imminence…

Liminal spaces are always interesting. They are places of transition and change. They are characterised by possibilities of other realities, as yet unknown. In such places, we may be aware of the certainty of change, and to remain there requires a surrender to mystery.

They are also places that demand the exercise of faith. Without this decision to step out of the known, into the unknown, then we confine our experience to one dimension, whilst existing in the felt presence of the other. Perhaps this is sufficient for some, because liminal places also may be places of danger.

Borders, airports, stations – human constructs of transition – are all too familiar to us. We seem to linger at these places often in a state of heightened unconsciousness. We close down our senses, isolate them from reality in the air conditioned, plate-glass processing space of the terminal buildings. Distracted by duty free shopping, we step off into the unknown…

Is it possible that we begin to live our lives like this? Distracted and deadened, blindly following others down corridors, weighed down by baggage and cheap perfume…

The New Kingdom Jesus calls us to participate within stands before us, mysterious and largely unknown. But we have some clues about what might be useful there- what might be considered of value.

But ultimately this place of imminence that calls us demands a step into wonderful, but scary mystery.