It’s never the goal to be caught in an in-between time—that time after what came before and before what comes after. The in-between time is a time of uncertainty. You’ve left what was known, but you haven’t quite arrived at the anticipated. It is often a time of anxiety, especially if you don’t know when it will end or how comfortable to get while you wait.
It feels like we are living in an in-between time. There was the “before” time—the time before COVID—and there is the anticipated post-COVID time. Right now we are somewhere between the two, with a growing realization that it may be years before we reach a post-COVID state. Thankfully, our Savior Jesus is quite familiar with in-between times.
Following Christ’s resurrection but before his ascension, Christ spent forty days in an in-between time. Sure, he had his resurrected body, but not his glorified body. He had risen from the dead but had not yet ascended to heaven to sit at God’s right hand. The disciples lived in an in-between time too as they awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit following Christ’s ascension. The church has been living in an in-between time since Pentecost: the Holy Spirit has come, but Christ has not yet come again ushering in a new heaven and a new earth. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a guarantor that Christ too will come.
We live in a spiritual in-between time on a cosmic scale and in a physical and emotional in-between time as we journey through this COVID pandemic. Each of us at different times lives in an in-between time in our personal lives as well: the time between graduation and our first job, for example, or between the medical test and the diagnosis, or between the diagnosis and the recovery. But how are we to live as Christians in these in-between times?
This issue provides some possible answers to that question. There are resources focused on Christ’s ascension, how his ascension assures us that we too will one day be in God’s presence, and how in the meantime we have someone sitting next to God Almighty who can intercede on our behalf. This issue also includes a worship series focusing on transitions and several articles focused on prayer and the psalms that provide us with many examples of how to live during this in-between time. We are reminded that it is not only acceptable for us to bring our sorrows and anxieties to God in prayer, but appropriate.
As you plan and lead worship during this in-between time, may you be used by God through the power of the Holy Spirit to equip your people with worship experiences and faith practices that will sustain them in their life on earth even as they await Christ’s return.