Greetings, David here.
Rob’s post earlier this week on community and getting away from it all reminded me of the ‘thin places’ in life where things just seem to make sense and there is great connection.
In the Celtic tradition there is a wonderful way of describing the places between Heaven and earth. These places are described as “Thin Places.” There is a Celtic saying that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places that distance is even smaller.
These thin places, according to the Celts, is where the veil that separates heaven and earth is lifted and one is able to receive a glimpse of the glory of God. A contemporary poet Sharlande Sledge puts it this way:
Thin places, the Celts call this space,
Both seen and unseen,
Where the door between the world
And the next is cracked open for a moment
And the light is not all on the other side.
God shaped space. Holy.
It is no wonder that thin places are most often associated with wild landscapes. A thin place requires us to step from one world to another and that often means traveling to a place where we have less control and where the unpredictable becomes the means of discovery. Rugged seacoasts, windswept islands and rocky mountain peaks were traditionally thin places in ancient times and still call out to pilgrims today. These places of refuge and restoration help us as John O’donohue writes, “to anchor our longing in the ancient longing of Nature.”
These places are not only geographical. Jesus invites us to these thin places in our lives. These thin places exist within our hearts, because that’s where Jesus chooses to meet with us. If the kingdom of God is within us, then it follows that this may just be the same place where Heaven meets earth. These are often places of community, but they may also be places of wilderness.
Some questions to consider:
1. Where are these thin places in your life?
2. What is unique, and different about these places?
3. When or how will you visit these places next?
4. What do you hope to find, learn or discover?
5. What will you do with what you find?
May you this week reflect on your near misses with God, may you recall and encounter glimpses of Heaven as you travel along your own road. May you find these thin places within you, and may you experience in your heart the one that rides the heavens.