Minimally Liminal

I discovered this image while looking through Biola University’s Center for Christianity Culture & the Arts. It is a digital illustration by Christopher Powers who oversees a ministry of art called “Full of Eyes” where he creates visual resources for the global church. Dream job!

This is how the illustration is explained on the website: In this image entitled Psalm 23:6, the two hands of Christ represent the goodness and mercy of the Lord that pursues his people throughout life. Powers used Christ’s hands because he wanted to show that it is not an impersonal ‘goodness’ that God gives his people, but a goodness that flows from, and indeed is, himself. The darkness around the hands represents every manner of hardship and suffering that life might bring to God’s people. Powers tries to show that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the trials his people face are not condemning, but purifying (1 Peter 1:6–7) and are ultimately for their joy and his glory (Romans 8:28–30), and that—at least in part—is what it means for the goodness and mercy of God to pursue after us all of our days.

In a devotion reflecting on this piece of art, Mike Ahn, host of The Biola Hour podcast, talks about the liminal spaces in our lives. He uses the example of the time between Christ’s last words on the cross, “It is finished,” and the angel’s words to Mary as she looks for Jesus in the tomb, “He is not here.” The time between those two sentences is liminal—between them exists a time of waiting, transition, and ambiguity. Ahn says these liminal spaces in our lives “reveal who we are, what we’re made of, and what we cling to.”

How good are you at waiting, transition, and ambiguity? I prefer resolution, routine, and control. I don’t care for “in-between” spaces and long for certainty. I long for familiar. I long to know the game plan and my role in the game. But there are times in our lives (more than I care to admit) when God leaves me in a liminal place. What are you and I to do in those times?

Being Human connection: All we can really do is wait. But we can learn a lot about trust in the waiting. We, as God’s people, wait with hope. Ahn continues, “…we don’t wait alone or simply wallow in the waiting. We wait with the Good Shepherd in order to follow him. Between the valley of the shadow of death and an overflowing cup, we lie down in green pastures because he is with us. Between all the evil in the world and dwelling in the house of the Lord, we walk beside quiet waters because his rod and staff are comforting. Liminal spaces are more than places to pass through, but opportunities to be more fully present with God as he leads us in paths of righteousness.”

Well said. Amen.

Featured art: Christopher Powers, Psalm 23:6, 2016