Thin places

26 Aug

I came across a term new to me recently, one that hit home in a way I could not have expressed before now. Thin places, according to Celtic Christianity, are places where the boundary between the natural world and the supernatural world becomes fuzzy. Literally, a place where the distance between our material world and the heavenly realms feels very small as we experience the breaking through of God’s presence. Thin places. I thought of three.

The river house I have led my last two extended team retreats is a thin place for me. Part of it has to do with it being a place I spent loads of time at as a child and have many fond memories of family and close friends, of a time when life was carefree. It is also simply gorgeous and I think God is usually more present to me in the outdoors. And certainly the story of God’s interaction with the family who owns the house brings lots of significance as well. Each morning when I talk down to the pier, it is so obvious that God is right there with me. Chillin’ with all the cute little crabs.

Christmas day is a thin place for me. Again, many great memories set the tone. Later in life as my faith has developed, the holiday has grown in significance in a way I never would have expected. I find myself loving time with family and yet wanting to get away with Dawn or by myself and just enjoy the presence of God on a special day.

Finally, taking the Lord’s supper in church has become a thin place. I vaguely remember experiences of it growing up and certainly in churches before our current one but it has never been as special to me as it is now. Many people come for the sermon, some come for the music. Me, I want my little piece of bread and grape juice and one quiet moment.

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4 Responses to “Thin places”

  1. superhsu August 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    Cool term, I think I’ve heard of it before.

    Also, I wonder if a thin place is really more about our openness/sensitivity than anything else? Not so much that God is more present to us, but that we are more present to Him?

    • Shane August 26, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

      Ladies and gentleman, Greg Hsu. Excellent point and one that I strongly agree with. Amen.

  2. Steve Clarke October 16, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Shane, come back to the blogging world. Or let Robin Price guest-blog for you.

  3. Shane October 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Maybe I should turn my website into a place for guest bloggers all the time. Since I seem to have quite a problem with keeping it up…

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