From the Interim Rector - April 16, 2021
A year ago, in the May 2020 issue of The Manifest I spoke of liminal time. There I wrote: Living into liminal time means living into the disorientation that it brings as old familiar patterns are put aside, or taken from us, while waiting for new patterns to emerge. It means freeing ourselves from the way things have been and opening ourselves to the possibilities of the way things could be. As one author states it, entering liminal time is "much like entering uncharted territory, where one must navigate an unfamiliar topography without the security of previous, familiar landmarks.’’
Little did I know that our journey through liminal time would carry us well into 2021. Yet here we still are. Betwixt and between. And, while we have increasing hope that we may be able to see an end to this pandemic, the scientific community has been very clear that Covid will be with us for a long, long time. It will become one more threat in a pantheon of diseases that threaten health and takes lives. In short, the “new normal” will include the Covid-19 virus. What that new normal will look like we will only discover as we live into it – deciding how much risk we are willing to take on and how serious the threat may be at a particular time and in a particular setting.
As we restart in-person worship, that too is occurring in liminal time. We all have different tolerances for risk; meaning that while one person may be less concerned about 6’ social distancing – especially if they are fully vaccinated, another person may not feel as comfortable speaking with someone who is standing inside that 6’ socially distanced buffer. Another person may be ready to drop the mask, but many others are not. As our parish begins to come back into in-person community, I would encourage all of us, myself included, to remember that during this liminal time of reengaging many of the communal aspects of our lives Covid-19 forced us to suspend, we must do so in ways that respect the fact that we are all on our own personal journey out of Covid and are making that journey at different speeds. The mutual respect and Christian love we have for one another means that as we make this journey, we remember that it isn’t about what I’m comfortable doing or not doing; but it’s about what the people around me are comfortable with me doing, or not doing. And, when we hit a bump along the way, we will trust one another enough to extend the grace necessary to express a concern or to receive a concern from one of our sisters or brothers in Christ. In this way we continue to fulfill our Baptismal Vows to: “Respect the dignity of every human being” and to “Seek and to serve Christ in all persons, loving [our] neighbor as [our] self.” If we can do that then, as I quoted last May in The Manifest, these liminal days of reengagement will gift to us days and weeks and even months “that are rife with possibility and opportunity” and “a sense of empowerment…, empowerment borne of the potential to challenge and disrupt established norms, coupled with the promise of discovery and self-growth.”
So may it be at the Church of the Epiphany as we continue our journey through these liminal days.