The Places In-Between

Today’s HB post is from Dr. Aron Reppmann, whose chapel meditation with Adam Perez and Jennifer Hill, not only helps us to understand better our existential and spiritual place in this tide of the Christian Year, but also itself creates a good rhetorical tent for us to be in for awhile. 

During the season of Lent, we intentionally practice the discipline of waiting. Some of this waiting is obvious and easy to see.  We wait for Easter, of course, and also for the completion of whatever practices of abstinence or addition we have taken on; and we hope that waiting for the conclusion of our Lenten practices also heightens our sense of waiting for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection – we hope that the redirecting of our appetites during this time helps to reorient our most fundamental desires, to help us deeply experience our longing for the coming kingdom of God. The simple, ordinary training of our everyday desires – as we wait, say, for the dessert or the glass of wine that will accompany our festive Easter celebration – gets blessedly mixed up with our growing awareness of our need for God. During Lent, we are intentionally and intensely aware of our ongoing brokenness, as we live in between the reality of redemption and the full consummation of it.

But a funny thing happens on the way to Easter. As we wait, our deepening reliance on God, our deepening participation in the visible body of Christ, starts to transform the very experience of waiting. We thought we were entering into the practice of disciplined waiting for the sake of what was coming – and yet we begin to find the practice itself to be a place of beauty as we live more deeply into the reality of our dependence.  Not only brokenness, but also beauty emerges, as saying no, for now, to an ordinary comfort of life makes us feel strangely more alive than before – standing straighter, tightening our belts as we join the psalmist in saying, with true joy,

“It is good for me that I was humbled,

so that I might learn your statutes. . . .

Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,

and do not disappoint me in my hope” (Ps. 119:71, 116).

The intentional waiting, the awareness that we are longing for something that has not yet arrived, opens us to be more blessed in the very circumstances and callings in which we find ourselves.

Could this experience of brokenness and beauty in the in-between season of Lent help us to enter more intentionally, more faithfully, more joyfully into all our in-between circumstances of life?  For surely Lent is not our only experience of living in-between.

– Dr. Reppmann

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