“Mind the Gap” is a warning in subway stations to be careful of the space between the subway car and the station platform. If you don’t pay attention and get your foot caught in that narrow space, you can be seriously injured or even killed.
This caution to pay attention, watch our step, and avoid those dangerous separations before us, is good advice for life outside the subway station as well.
Gaps are places where something is missing. How many of us have hesitated to cross the gap of fear or pride and had to watch opportunity close its doors and glide away down the track?
There is often a gap between expectation and reality. Between who we are and who we’d like to be. Between who others are and who we’d like them to be. How many marriages fall into this gap? How many parent/child interactions founder there?
We need to mind the gaps in our relationships, before small cracks become canyons that take enormous effort to bridge.
We need to mind the gaps between our words and our actions. Between our intentions and our follow-through. If we claim the name “Christian”, this is crucial. We are being watched, by others as well as by the God whose name we display on our tee shirts and bumper stickers. More is at stake than we may realize.
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”Isaiah 29:13
We are also called to stand in gaps for others, giving of ourselves to mend the rifts formed by hatred, ignorance, or indifference.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.Matthew 5:9
The rifts in our own souls are where change happens, where we must fill the fallow places with seeds of intention, parting the soil with hope. I have sometimes spent myself so long in minding the gaps around me that I have neglected my own broken places.
The only solid bridge to hope is humility. Is pride not the cause of most of our relational wounds? Misunderstandings play their part, but pride is that insidious evil that pries apart hearts once knit together in love.
Sometimes the canyon has been carved by another, and our only recourse is to leave a light of forgiveness on along our side of the chasm.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.Romans 12:18
We are called to be bridge builders. Breach fillers. As we mind the gaps in our own souls, we gain strength to tend to the gaping wounds around us, and gain courage to bridge the broken places between us. Filling them with encouragement. With hope. With truth spoken in love. With mercy.
In all of this, we follow the way laid by the One who laid His body down between heaven and hell, death and life, filling that great cosmic gap with His very self.
“We appeal to you,” Paul pleaded, “be reconciled to God!” And this is key to it all, for He is the only one who can cross the battle lines in our hearts to bring us the peace our souls crave.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.John 3:16-17
So let us start by reaching across the silence sitting uneasily between us and our spouse; by knocking gently on the door of our angry child; by apologizing for the thoughtless comment we made to that difficult co-worker. Then let’s lay down our picket signs and social media rants to really get to know that person on the other side.
The train is pulling into the station, the doors about to slide open to our destiny. Let’s mind the gaps before us so that we can stride confidently, and humbly, into our future.