iCLT News: Too Late? Too Soon? Just the right time?
by Maren Tyedmers Hange
Minister of Formation and Soul Care
Too Late? Too Soon? Just the right time?
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” Matthew 5:9
As the interim conference leadership team is in the middle of things, a little over halfway through our two-year term, I have been reflecting on the question “What is it too soon for, too late for, just the right time for?” (I first came across these questions in Joyce Rupp’s book Open the Door.)
It is fun to be in the middle of things that are going well; piecing together a quilt brings joy; kneading the dough for bread is deeply satisfying; a family hike through the colors of a fall day under blue sky is filled with deep gratitude, singing in four-part harmony is uplifting. I am sure you have examples of your own you love to be in the midst of.
Being in the middle of things that are falling apart, controversial, frustrating, or mind-blowingly violent as we witness these days is incredibly hard. Nobody wants to be “caught in the middle”. Think of Elijah running for his life and laying down under the broom tree “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4b) Or think of Peter when the rooster crowed. I often wonder about the look Jesus gave Peter “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter” (Luke 22:61) Grief, fear, pain and guilt are such jumbled spaces, often too deep for words or the strength to engage but they are also places of God’s transforming power at work.
I recently learned about Mandorlas in the context of the Arts in Conflict Transformation. Mandorla, Italian for almond, is a shape that has been used in traditional iconography. Often icons have an almond shape around Jesus Christ. The Mandorla shape also shows up in the middle of a Venn diagram, as the space of connection and possibility.
We have used the theme of “Jesus be the center” at the last VMC Summer assembly. What grounding in Christ and prayer do we have for that mandorla to become a transforming space? Ripe with connection and possibilities can that space become a change agent? A space where the Spirit hovers with creative power, where the presence of Jesus Chrit becomes transforming, where God is saying “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) — What is it too soon for, too late for, just the right time for?