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For centuries, the myth of the starving artist has dominated our culture, seeping into the minds of creative people and stifling their pursuits.

Living In The In-Between Times

In fact, they capitalized on the power of their creative strength. Get the Book. Hone the underestimated art of living in the moment. We are grateful for the capable leadership of Jane Fahey in these days, but still. It is an in-between time. Since our last meeting, we have survived a harsh and divisive election season, and we await the transition to a new president of our nation. Some of us are relieved, perhaps even hopeful about change.

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  • Living In-Between: A sermon for these times?

Others are deeply worried about the future of the nation. We see political divides in our presbytery and in our churches, as well as in our country. Many of you may feel caught between friends or family members of opposing views. Some of our congregations are in-between pastors, or between budget years, awaiting final numbers on stewardship campaigns.

All of us are between liturgical seasons, getting ready to turn the page into another Advent, with its own curious pace both waiting and hurrying toward Christmas. Such transition, change, such between-ness can make us afraid. Those people who think differently, look differently, act differently from ourselves. In such times as these our anger arises easily, our suspicions and fears make us quick to judge. We specialize in these suspended seasons between goodbyes and hellos. We have been given the wisdom, the word, to face this season that lies before us.

As human beings, we are hard wired to be anxious about change. It is as natural as breathing to be on the alert when we are in unfamiliar territory, to fight or flee in order to protect ourselves and our tribe. Our markets show this anxiety. Our blood pressure shows this anxiety. But as Christians—and I want to say, especially as Reformed Protestant Christians—we have an alternative wisdom that can help counter such fear. Because when things around us are in a state of flux, it is more clear than ever that political parties, economic systems, leaders-- even beloved leaders--, and yes, even churches, are not eternal.

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They come and go. Or to put it another way: they are not God.

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Who then is God? And where is God at work in these times of Between? At least two things are clear from this verse: God is generous, and God is faithful. Even if we stop receiving, God does not stop giving. Even when the world is in turmoil and we cannot see clearly the way ahead, God is faithful. Even if we stop listening, God does not stop speaking.

Columbia Theological Seminary - Living In-Between: A sermon for these times

So what is our job? Our job just maybe is to stop long enough to look around and listen for the Word that continues to echo across the universe and through the ages. It might mean putting down your phones at times. It might mean looking up from the incessant stream of updates on social media, or pollsters and pundits on the news channels.

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She confronts with heartbreaking honesty the crises of identity that cancer brings: a lifelong vegetarian, Teva agrees to use experimental drugs that have been tested on animals. She struggles to reconcile her long-term goals with an uncertain future, balancing the innate sadness of cancer with everyday acts of hope and wonder.

Sermon: “Living in the In-Between Time” by the Rev. Margaret Grayden

She also examines those quiet moments of helplessness and loving with her husband, her family, and her friends, while they all adjust to the new normal. House of Anansi Press. No one writes about illness like this, it was hard to stop crying in a happy way because I felt so understood. Sly and brutal and funny and crushing.

Through this remarkable book, we encounter awkward ironies, the quietly harrowing reality of our mortal human condition, and moments of distilled life and beauty. Wryly unflinching in her examination of her condition, its treatment, and herself, Teva shares with us the gift that emerges from her in-between days. With seemingly simple, but ingeniously pared-down strokes, Harrison bestows upon her readers the gift of complete empathy.