My previous post had reflections on this painting by James Tissot.
It's happened twice now that my posts have had some sort of synchronicity with The Blog:People for Others . Weird but wonderful.
My previous post today started off with a reflection on James Tissot's painting of Jesus Looking Through a Lattice and then I looked at People for Others and Fr. Paul talks about the need for liminal spaces in our lives and asks us where our liminal spaces are.
That has set me off anew on the painting because I can see it represents a liminal space.
Over at Ponder Anew , a Californian Blog has a piece dated 2007 and he defines liminal space as:
"a place where boundaries dissolve a little and we stand there, on the threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to be…Victor Turner introduced the concept of 'liminal space': a space of transformation between phases of separation and reincorporation. It represents a period of ambiguity, a marginal and transitional state."
I know of no thinning of the boundary between life in the flesh (what we were) and life in Christ (what we are to be). There is no getting ready that will enable us to move across this boundary on our own. There is only Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Perhaps liminal space for the Christian is any situation that allows us to encounter Jesus and be moved by him from life in the flesh to life in Him. In this sense, all space is liminal space.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39
Within the liminal space of self-abandonment, there is a sense of liminal space that is created by waiting and listening for the Good who although apparently outside of us, is never very far away.“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…” (Psalm 37:7) “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10).
Perhaps liminal space is the Christian believer himself or herself. The Christian believer’s heart is the dwelling place of Christ. Within our hearts, the boundary between acting in the old self and acting in the new self is very “thin.”It is a choice which is enabled by Jesus Christ.
Perhaps James Tissot's painting of Christ's presence behind the lattice shows us that God is very near and it enables us to create this “liminal space” in our hearts, and invites us to abandon ourselves, trust Him, and choose as He directs us to choose – life in and through Him…again and again and again