Liminality

Feb. 19, 2021

Scripture Readings

My mom used to give our kids coins for when they would use big money words. Well, this week I learned a money word: liminality. And not only did I learn the new word, but immediately found context for it in a couple of ways.


Liminality is the idea that there is a space between entering into something with little knowledge and exiting that experience with a sense of understanding or belonging. That space is known to be ambiguous, disorientating, and maybe even scary. To put it in context I use my wife Elke as an example (with her permission of course). You see Elke, feeling God’s guidance and leading, left her policing job in March 2020 in order to go back to seminary and work full time on her MA in Theology. She began that with a sense of purpose, but without much of an idea of how it would all look. She knows that some day she will finish and have a deeper understanding of God and his word and likely some clarity on where she is going. But right now, she is in the liminal space. I sometimes catch her biting her lip, frowning, and just sitting and pondering what this all means.


Our scriptures today also catch this idea of the liminal space. The disciples, after waking Jesus from a deep sleep and witnessing him calm the storm, “were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” (Mark 4:41). Or how about later when the townspeople “plead with Jesus to leave their region” (Mark 5:17) and the demon-possessed man begs to go with Jesus. I would argue that they are in that disorientating liminal space, not entirely sure what to do with life after Jesus has turned it upside down.

Maybe you are going through your own experience and find yourself in the liminal space. I say rejoice, because we follow One who not only directs our paths, but has also left us his Counsellor to walk with us through whatever is before us.


May you find peace and purpose this day; knowing that God loves you, actively cares for you, and has unimaginably amazing things in store for those who listen and obey.


Darwin Carlson

Father of two great sons and husband to one amazing lady!