Posted by: jaimemwsanders | April 7, 2012

In Between

I keep expecting life to be like books, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Instead they are all middle.  Stories make arbitrary decisions about where to begin and end.  By focusing on only one little bit or problem – who will Elizabeth Bennett marry? – they create an ending.  In my former profession, I had the experience of beginning, middle and end because I only saw a small part of the story.  A corporation was trying to buy another company, for example.  I didn’t come into the story until a certain point, and left after the transaction was completed.  If I was involved with the client again, it was for another story.  The tidy plot was an illusion created by my limited vision.  What would the story of Pride and Prejudice look like if seen from Elizabeth’s father’s perspective?  It wouldn’t start with Mr. Darcy coming to town, and wouldn’t end with the pairing.

Most of church life seems to be “in between.”  We artificially create stories for purposes of OTM narratives, or resumes or sharing at clergy conferences.  But the “old” is never past, and the “new” is never fully here.  On Palm Sunday St. Mary’s was fuller than usual, and with new families.  But Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday, the faithful attenders were older, English-speakers, fewer.  The new identity is, like the Reign of God, “already and not yet.”  I need to be patient, valuing the old while welcoming the new.

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