It’s that time of year when I leave the house in tennis shoes, light weight slacks, a cotton sweater, and a wool coat. I think I’ve dressed appropriately for the day only to discover that it’s just above freezing outside. We are living in that in-between time right now when the daffodils are blooming and an overnight freeze is just around the corner.
This is a time of transition, a time of change, a time of letting go of the old and embracing the new. However, the new – a glorious, predictable spring – isn’t quite here yet. How much of our lives are like this! Life is never stagnant, change is always just around the corner, and stability is an illusion.
Just living, being and moving through the life cycle forces us to change, puts us on unfamiliar ground where we suddenly realize it’s sink or swim. Leaving home for kindergarten was most likely terrifying for all of us, although few of us have any memory of leaving the safety of our parent’s arms into a wide world we knew nothing about. Then the teenage years, who can forget those? Our bodies were changing, hormones raging, and suddenly we didn’t know who we were any more, if in fact we ever did. Then it was off to the world of work or college with more change – change that felt searingly permanent because we knew in significant ways we could never go home again. Then for some it’s the change of marriage and children and the life cycle starts all over again with its circular quality of never-ending transition until that day when we make the ultimate transition from life to death, from this world to the next.
Christians believe we are living in in-between times constantly, that time between present reality and the moment when God’s kingdom finally will come on earth. We await the in-breaking of that kingdom, while being all too aware of how painfully short of that ultimate goal we and our world really are. We lament that these in-between times are still alive and well, characterized as they are by continuing racial prejudice, senseless killing, new and fatal diseases like Ebola, war, hunger, and poverty. And we wonder what we are meant to do about it all, if anything.
While we cannot change the seasons or the life cycles of human existence, each and every one of us can do our part to usher in God’s kingdom on earth. We can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, educate the world’s children, work to stop violence of all kinds, and the list goes on. We can work to bring a slice of God’s kingdom in our own small corner of the world, however and wherever we can.
Yes, these are in-between times. Embrace them, accept them and let’s work together. God’s kingdom is just around the corner.