Have you ever come across the term Thin Places? These have been defined as a place where the veil between this world and the eternal world is thin. A thin place is where one can walk in two worlds – the worlds are fused together, knitted loosely where the differences can be discerned or tightly where the two worlds become one. Thin places aren’t perceived with the five senses. Experiencing them goes beyond those limits.
Simply put, a thin place was and is just that, a physical location where the separation between the divine and the earth is considered to be thin. I believe we can expand that beyond the borders of Ireland and Scotland and say that we have all experienced thin places in our lives – those mystical, unexplainable touches with the divine that both test and strengthen our faith.
In reality, Thin Places are not solely reserved for rugged, isolated places, but can be a place of peace and tranquility that we visit to help us re-connect. When we return to normality, it helps us draw a sense of that place into our reality.
I believe that it is important for us to have thin places, both spatially and temporally, for us to reconnect. Some thin places have been well-known to seekers for centuries and have become popular places of pilgrimage, such as the isle of Iona in Scotland or Lourdes in France. Other thin places are particular to our own experience of God and serve as touchstones as we seek to encounter the Divine. For pilgrims in search of Sacred Encounter, thin places serve as direct portals to the Divine, offering particular moments and locations in which we can more readily dwell in the presence of God and cultivate the transformation we desire.
You may also experience such a thin place be it in wading beside the ocean’s surf or standing high on a mountain top. You may well have childhood memories of a time and place when you felt especially close to a greater world. Your thin place might be entailed in a particular piece of music, poetry or in the impact of a life-altering event. Many people have moments in their lives when they experience the feeling that there is more to life than what we generally experience.
Read about the incident of Moses and the burning bush, Exodus 3:1-5. Do we recognise that we can stand on holy ground.
Lord, we long to see you move into the neighbourhood. We want to feel heaven on earth in a thin place. Please remind us of your presence and hold us close to you. Encourage anyone who is tired. Surround anyone who is lonely. Support anyone who is hurting. And remind us who you have made us to be—your hands and your feet in our neighbourhoods. May we meet you in a thin place as we also become a thin place for others. Amen.