illustration of a man sitting

Introduction: In Between

None of us likes to be perpetually in between, especially those of us who are goal-oriented and would rather experience the satisfaction of having arrived. Yet from a Christian perspective, there is a real sense that the church is always in between Easter or Pentecost and the Parousia, when Christ returns. How then shall we live in this transitional time? In ways that allow the Spirit of the living Christ to bear witness to the world of God’s redemptive work. As Acts 1:8 puts it, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (NRSV). Intriguingly, the English “to the ends of the earth” lifts up two aspects of life in between for us who seek to fully embrace the opportunities and challenges along this journey.

First, the apostolic commission through the empowering of the Holy Spirit was for those who would embrace the call to be “on the move.” Yes, we want to “get there,” but the Holy Spirit will always nudge us to go beyond where we are at, to be open to crossing the next border, to be faithful despite the desire to get comfortable in any locale. In the global context of the 2020s, we are always between here and there, with the opportunity to get to the next location, not just for movement’s sake, but for the sake of the gospel.

Second, the English “to the ends of the earth” actually translates the Greek eschatou tes ges, which includes a temporal dimension: “to the ends of the times of the earth,” in effect. This names the temporality that is involved in our moving—in the case of the apostolic mandate, throughout the “last days” (Acts 2:17) and for “all who are far away” (Acts 2:39), and in our case, from whenever we might find ourselves to the time of the Parousia and the arriving of the divine basileia (the coming reign of God). In other words, the gift of the Holy Spirit facilitates our trek, enabling obedient discipleship that bears witness to the good news of Jesus Christ and the coming divine rule.

This means that living in between—between incarnation and eschaton, between here and there, between now and then—is exactly what it means to be alive in Christ by the power of his Spirit. The following essays and reflections illuminate various aspects of this journey.

Written By

Amos Yong, Chief Academic Officer, Dean of the Schools of Theology and Intercultural Studies, and Professor of Theology and Mission

None of us likes to be perpetually in between, especially those of us who are goal-oriented and would rather experience the satisfaction of having arrived. Yet from a Christian perspective, there is a real sense that the church is always in between Easter or Pentecost and the Parousia, when Christ returns. How then shall we live in this transitional time? In ways that allow the Spirit of the living Christ to bear witness to the world of God’s redemptive work. As Acts 1:8 puts it, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (NRSV). Intriguingly, the English “to the ends of the earth” lifts up two aspects of life in between for us who seek to fully embrace the opportunities and challenges along this journey.

First, the apostolic commission through the empowering of the Holy Spirit was for those who would embrace the call to be “on the move.” Yes, we want to “get there,” but the Holy Spirit will always nudge us to go beyond where we are at, to be open to crossing the next border, to be faithful despite the desire to get comfortable in any locale. In the global context of the 2020s, we are always between here and there, with the opportunity to get to the next location, not just for movement’s sake, but for the sake of the gospel.

Second, the English “to the ends of the earth” actually translates the Greek eschatou tes ges, which includes a temporal dimension: “to the ends of the times of the earth,” in effect. This names the temporality that is involved in our moving—in the case of the apostolic mandate, throughout the “last days” (Acts 2:17) and for “all who are far away” (Acts 2:39), and in our case, from whenever we might find ourselves to the time of the Parousia and the arriving of the divine basileia (the coming reign of God). In other words, the gift of the Holy Spirit facilitates our trek, enabling obedient discipleship that bears witness to the good news of Jesus Christ and the coming divine rule.

This means that living in between—between incarnation and eschaton, between here and there, between now and then—is exactly what it means to be alive in Christ by the power of his Spirit. The following essays and reflections illuminate various aspects of this journey.

Amos Yong of Fuller Seminary's School of Intercultural Studies

Amos Yong, Chief Academic Officer, Dean of the Schools of Theology and Intercultural Studies, and Professor of Theology and Mission

Up Next

Vince Bantu, assistant professor of church history and Black church studies, shares his experiences of living amidst and finding home in in-between spaces of race, place, church, and the academy.