‘Mind the Gap” (338)

In London, when traveling on the Tube, a polite, recorded voice reminds people exiting to “mind the gap.” The “gap” to which the voice refers is the gap between the train and the platform. Riders are reminded to pay attention as they exit the train. These days between our Lord’s Ascension, but before the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we’re in a similar place spiritually. Jesus has “already” risen and ascended, but a profound event, the coming of the Holy Spirit, is still “yet” to happen. This “already, but not yet” time” is good spiritual preparation for facing the world as it currently is. It seems the entire world is trying to “mind the gap” between what has been and what will be. We’re going through a transition from the “modern” to the “post-modern” world. That alone should indicate why so many people are afraid, anxious, or confused. We don’t even have a name for the time we’re in. It’s not “modern.” It’s “post-modern.” That defines what it no longer is, but it tells us nothing about what the future will be. The modern world has passed away, but what’ll replace it has not yet come.

There are different ways people “mind the gap” in response to living today. Some, reacting out of their fear and anxiety, hunker down and refuse to accept that the world has changed. In religion, these are the fundamentalist groups in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. They refuse to live graciously and open-heartedly “in the gap.” Their refusal shows itself in their misplaced anger born out of their fear and anxiety. Still others, reacting to a constant need for novelty, embrace every new thing that comes their way. But they have no depth in anything. They get lost “in the gap,” steering a course with multiple navigational tools, so they unwittingly find themselves traveling in circles concluding facilely that there’s absolute truth at all. Their morality and world-view proceeds from a spirituality based on whatever feels right at the time to them.

There’s a better way and we have it in the Church. As disciples of Jesus, we’re a people equipped to live “in the gap” between the “already” and the “not yet.” We have faith that God is sovereign, steadfast, and immovable. As St. Peter says, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” As we “mind the gap” waiting for what will be, we trust in God’s never-failing grace. We can say with Dame Julian of Norwich that “all things shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well,” only because of the merciful love of God in Jesus. Thus, we’re prepared to face the future and its uncertainty. We worship a Lord who says, “Behold, I make all things new.” St. Paul tells us: If we’re in Christ, we’re “new creations,” therefore “the old has passed away and the new has come.” We can welcome the new thing God’s doing. We’re a gap people living in a world experiencing a major shift from what’s been to what will be.

But how will we know what’s “of God” what’s not “of God” as we “mind the gap” during this time? That’ll require us to pay close attention to what God is up to. If it looks like Jesus’ mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and grace, then it’s probably “of God.” If it looks cruel, cold-hearted, unforgiving, or vengeful, then it’s almost certainly not “of God,” at least not the God who’s revealed to us in Scripture as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, if it looks like Jesus, then it’s almost certainly “of God.”



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