On the Way to Eden

On the Way to Eden

Coming attractions

“April is the cruelest month,” wrote T.S. Eliot, which seems a little overstated but I understand the sentiment. Unless you’re just living life entirely attached to a screen, these almost-spring spring days can be challenging, weather-wise. I find myself impatient for a solid stretch of days with 70-something temperatures, clear skies and, oh, maybe nighttime showers. We’ve had an up-and-down winter, and we’re due.

But of course one can’t will that Eden into existence. The weather is only the most self-evident sign that we’re not ultimately in control, as much as we kid ourselves that we are. Maybe what’s cruel about April is that we’re confronted again and again with that hard reality.

I think the church lives in that same kind of tension, an eternal liminal time. “The Kingdom [of God] is always but coming,” wrote the great Social Gospel theologian Walter Rauschenbusch. That is, it’s the human condition to forever live in between-times – times on the cusp of something new. Change, the only constant.

The Bible, which is always in dialogue with itself as well as with us, give voice to this in-betweenness. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) arm-wrestles with “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19). And here we are in the middle – holding fast to eternal truths, and looking with expectation to what God might be up to next, in our lives, our church and our world.

Waiting is hard. But there’s deliciousness in anticipation. I’m learning to love the between-times.

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