There is in Celtic spirituality an awareness of ‘thin places’ in the universe, where the visible and the invisible world come into closest proximity. Monasteries and holy places were meant to be founded at such spots to increase the likelihood of a transcendental communication. These thin places are threshold places, a border or frontier place where two worlds meet and where one has the possibility of communicating with the other. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/travel/thin-places-where-we-are-jolted-out-of-old-ways-of-seeing-the-world.html
Marsha Sinetar in a wonderful little book entitled ‘Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics’, reminds us that the search for thin places is not just the purview of those religious types who live in set apart places. Each of us has the ability to discern and experience such places and moments of awe and wonder.
From my experience such places sometimes are found in houses of worship but more often are found in the everyday. Often in nature.
Have you ever been in a thin place?
I am a pastor serving a church along the North Shore of Massachusetts. With a limited warm weather window many of us savor days at a nearby beach or on rivers and lakes. Instinctively we are drawn to such places because they not only provide relief from the heat but also nourish our soul.
This summer at church we are spending less time indoors and more time attending the ‘Church of Woods and Water’. At this church we dig our toes in the sand and our paddle in the water. We listen for the voice of the Creator in the wind and waves just as aboriginal Peoples have done since the beginning of time.
Such settings serve as portals into the ancient rhythm of creation. Such thin places remind us to slow down, to savor, to reflect on what matters and where we belong.
John Muir said: “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
This summer I wish you a good journey to places both familiar and thin. May we walk slowly, breathe deeply and paddle well.