A book I’ve read recently was reminding me of the concept of “thin places.” This was a phrase used by Celtic Christians to describe those moments were heaven and earth just seem to meet… those moments of awe and wonder… the moments where the junk that fogs our view most of the time is cleared up a little bit and we get a glimpse into God’s glory. I had many of these “thin places” today and yesterday and thought I’d share just a few:
- A deeper realization of the fact while reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan yesterday that God WANTS to spend time with ME. Truly is crazy love.
- Staying up way too late on the phone last night with my college roommate talking about all things life. Laughing. Sharing joys. Sharing struggles. One in NY. One in CA. Yet, walking through life together.
- Getting to go to Camp Pioneer for the first time. I don’t think it matters WHAT camp you’re at, nor the length of time you’re there (we were only there an hour), camp is definitely a thin place… a place to be closer to God.
- Easter Breakfast shopping… I’m not sure how many people can say this brings back childhood memories, but it’s definitely a truth for me. I had fun today with my teammate Jason hitting up Entemanns, Aldi’s, and Wegman’s to track down everything. Something about memories of doing this with my dad also make me think of my Heavenly Dad… a thin place.
- Driving back to church for worship tonight it was kind of cloudy (like it has been for the last 6 months) and there was this small, tiny holy in one of the clouds and sunshine was pouring down through it… hope…kinda like the simple light that remains through these next couple dark, but holy days.
- And about a million ‘thin places’ were found in worship tonight….
- Laura’s solo on bass of “What Wondrous Love is This?” at the start of communion…
- Real bread, ceramic chalices, along with a sense of true communion with those at the “Last” Supper (which was really the first)…
- Bill’s testimony and Pastor’s reminders of how were are united, in the meal and in service…
- The stripping of the altar
- A child walking, crown of thorns lifted high above her head, back down the aisle placing them alone back on the altar after it had been stripped.
- I found myself especially awestruck by the words in many of the hymns and the beautiful music throughout the service:
- “Never so alone and lonely, Longing with tormented heart To be with Your dear ones only For a quiet hour apart”
- “Show Me and the world you love me, Know me as the Lamb of God: Do this in remembrance of Me, Eat this Body, drink this blood.”
- “Just as I am… without one plea… though tossed about…. poor, wretched, blind… fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come…. I come.”
- “Oh the height of Jesus’ love, Higher than the heav’ns above, Deeper than the depths of sea, Lasting as eternity! Love that found me—wondrous thought! Found me when I sought Him not.”
- One specific hymn struck me tonight. You see, I just finished reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp earlier this week. The book, in a way, is all about these thin places, about giving thanks, literally at ALL times, even when giving thanks might be the last thing we want to do. It’s about Ann’s journey of literally COUNTING the gifts she receives from God. I’ve kept a list similar to this for many years, but once I started reading this book, I started actually numbering them in my journal and just hit 1000 last night. I almost exploded with joy tonight as I sang these words:
“Thou hast born the smiting only That my wounds might all be whole; Thou hast suffered, sad and lonely, Rest to give my weary soul; Yea the curse of God enduring, Blessing unto me securing, Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus unto Thee.”
Yes, Dearest Jesus… thousands of thanks we bring and give to you for the thousands of gifts you pour into our lives each day… gifts we may or may not take notice of. Today, one of those gifts was simply the eyes to see these, and many more gifts… to recognize the thin places and simply be in that place and enjoy the piece of you I was allowed to see. Grant us eyes, especially as we head into these next few most holy days, to anticipate thin places and anticipate You. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
So, I want to hear from YOU… what thin places have YOU experienced recently? Times when God seemed to break through the busy-ness and chaos of our lives to put you in awe or speak to your heart…. even if it was something as simple as literally laughing out loud at yourself when you saw your crazy hair in the morning (which also was a thin place for me this morning).
(Really… I’d love to hear them… so comment below or e-mail me or call me.)