A Stable Faith by Rev. Shayna Appel
A few days ago, President Biden inferred that the COVID pandemic was behind us. As I sit to write this article, I am awaiting results from my rapid test kit to see if I am still testing positive for COVID-19, a little bonus I brought home with me from our weekend together at Ferry Beach! But even if that were not the case, you don’t need me to tell you what you all know: the COVID-19 pandemic is NOT behind us, and neither are the multiple consequences of it.

Still, I think we’d mostly agree that, while this virus is no longer with us in the way that it was, it is;
A) Still among us, and B) We are still living with the fall-out from it on multiple fronts!

We are, in effect, living in a liminal time between the COVID-19 pandemic and whatever will follow it. We are not in full-blown COVID, and we are not past it. We are very much like the hiker who, upon coming to a brook, takes a leap to get over it. Both feet have left dry land but we have not yet touched down on the other side.

I remember a mentor of mine telling a story about being in Jerusalem touring the ancient Temple. As they moved from the courtyard to the inner chambers, he found himself in a doorway unable to move forward due to the presence of his fellow travelers. He stood there a moment until one of the Temple docents approached him to say that he must not, “stand in the middle.” “The in-between place is very dangerous,” said the young man.

From a spiritual perspective, I get that. To be ‘in-between’ is to essentially be adrift — neither here nor there, neither fish nor fowl. Yet, it is widely understood in all traditions that practice any sort of ritual, that actual transformation requires passage through a liminal zone. In any ritual, the elements or the individual will experience a stage in which they are no longer what they were, but they are not yet what they will be.

So, liminal time is a fact of life for anyone or anything that is up for the work of transformation. That being said, it doesn’t make it easy or pleasant. Just ask the caterpillar turning to mush inside their cocoon!

But, if liminal times are uncomfortable and challenging, they are also rich with possibility and opportunity. So this year our Soul Matters curriculum will have us exploring the spiritual practices necessary to navigate liminal times well. What comes to your mind when you think about belonging, courage, change, wonder, finding our center, love, vulnerability, resistance, creativity, and delight?

Think on these things and we’ll see you in worship!

Shalom, Rev. Shayna