Watching, praying and waiting

At this point in our ministry St. Margaret’s has entered a liminal time – a time of already, but not yet. We know that we are soon to be parting ways, and yet I have not yet parted. We know that change is coming, and yet change has not begun. We know that new life is ahead, and yet we still need to say goodbye to the way things are now. Liminal time is not easy. Being in that in-between makes us feel uneasy and unsettled. We long for closure but also dread closure. We may want to say a lot, but also feel like there is only so much that we can say.

Scripture is full of liminal time. Most famous is probably the Ascension. If you remember, Jesus makes one last resurrection appearance before ascending to the Father. As he departs, he tells the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to empower them for ministry. The promise sounds lovely, but Jesus does not give them a timetable. He does not even tell them what to do while they wait. He simply tells them to wait.

What I always love about this story is what the disciples do in the liminal time. They go to the temple to pray and they praise God. What else can we do in the in-between time but pray? That is probably our natural response anyway. But praising God is the harder example to follow. In the liminal time we may prefer to be agitated at God. How did the disciples manage to find a way to praise God?

Perhaps the answer lies in asking the right questions. On the first Sunday after the announcement of my departure I shared with you that I had been asking myself three questions about the looming wilderness (or liminal time) of transition and Lent. The questions were: 1) Where have I experienced God’s faithfulness in the wilderness? 2) How has my relationship with God been transformed in the wilderness? 3) How strong are the temptations of returning to old ways – to ways of relying on myself?

In these last weeks together, know that I am praying, praising, and struggling along with you. This liminal time is not easy for any of us. But I am praying for the flourishing of St. Margaret’s in the future. I am praising God for all the good work we have done together. And I am struggling with saying goodbye to a community that has shaped and formed me for the last four-plus years. Instead of fighting this liminal time, I invite you to join me in praying in the temple. I invite you be present as we wait in the ambiguity. I invite you to praise God as we walk through the last days of Lent, the journey of Holy Week, and the celebration of Easter. What better thing can we do as we wait and watch for the Holy Spirit?

Christ’s Peace,

~ The Rev. Jennifer Andrews-Weckerly