And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.
Hebrews Chapter 11 verses 32-40
A while ago our Diocesan Bishop gave a copy of a book to all of the Clergy in the Diocese - it was called "How to lead when you don't know where you're going." and it talks of 'leadership in a liminal season' - liminal meaning a space between one way of being and another, a boundary, a threshold. It was written particularly as we found ourselves, as Church, as Humanity, in a pandemic like no other - one which we are still negotiating as we seek what a 'new normal' might look like.
All of us on this spiritual journey that we are considering as we venture through Advent are, however, in a liminal space. We are always in a place which holds together "the now, and the not yet." as Christians we believe 'the reign of God (also called the Kingdom of God)' is here, and yet still coming. The reign of God being that place of healing and wholeness where all are welcome, justice rules, and love is central to all. We don't know how that will look, we don't know how to get there, we can't say when it will happen, and yet we hope, and we act, and we pray, and we love, and by doing so we usher in this reign of God little by little.
Our advent waiting should not be a place of being passive, or feeling stuck, or of frustration - but an opportunity to take stock of where we are, where we've been, and how we move on - even if we don't quite know where we are going. It's a gift to us, a gift of space and time to open ourselves up to the leading of the Divine, a gift of resting the faith which calls us onward into the unknown, but calls us forward in faith, hope, and love.
Tolkien Quote from Fancyquotes.com