The concept of thin places has always been a powerful one for me. I first heard about the idea from an Irish monk who was lecturing at Beeson while I was there. He explained that thin places were places in nature that the Irish believed the spiritual world and our world to be especially linked. The concept actually arose out of pre-Christian Irish culture, but the Christians easily adapted the idea as a way to talk about feeling the presence of God and the eternal.
I think that this concept holds special significance for me because I believe that if we strive to develop an awareness for the holy and the spiritual, we will actually find thin places everywhere. Maybe sometimes we find them in nature, but they can also be found while listening to a song or viewing a piece of art. I also think that these “places” can be events like a sharing a meal with good friends or watching your daughter play. If we seek these things and appreciate them, it is then that we feel God nearer than we ever thought possible.
One more example of this thin places concept can be found in the experience of thousands of teenagers and mission trip participants. We always talk about the fact that while were on a mission trip or at church camp we felt God presence so strongly. I think that it is because for us these were our thin places. The picture that serves as the background for this blog’s title comes from one such place for me–the top of a mountain in Guatemala. Jenn and I were there spending a week working with an orphanage called Eagle’s Nest. A former presidential resort, the orphanage overlooked Lake Atitlan and its majectic volcanoes. In this place the beauty of mercy and love intersected with the beauty of creation and wonder. It is no wonder that God felt very near that week. My hope is that we will all find these thin places in our lives everyday.