Thin Places

Thin Places

Autumn in upstate New York is simply stunning. The area we are from is considered to be just on the edge of New England with plenty of history and all the renowned beauty of fall. While this area doesn’t have the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, the rolling hills make a lovely setting for the splashes of radiant red, nearly neon orange, and bright yellows of the fall leaves. The contrast with the dark green of the pines adds to the breathtaking grandeur.

One particular sunny Sunday afternoon in autumn often comes to mind. My husband and I were taking the backroads to visit his grandparents. It was a route we had taken many times before, as we prefer the backroads to the blandness of the highways. We came up a hill near where a revolutionary tavern is still in use. That part of the road is lined with mature trees on either side. In the fall, these trees are dressed in the most vibrant yellow.

As we crested the top of this hill, the sun came through the trees in such a way that we were momentarily blinded with the splendor. Time stopped and we were transported to an almost mystical place.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]God’s holiness and my humanity come together in a harmonized dance.[/pullquote]Together we inhaled, as if on cue.

Then we turned to each other and grinned. “Let’s do it again!”

So we turned around and retraced our path.

Forever etched into our memories, it was glorious. A hint of heaven.

There is a concept within Celtic Christian spirituality referred to as “thin places”. It is often referred to as a locality where the distance between heaven and earth seem thin or close. These are places where God’s presence is palpable, and the working of his Spirit is obvious. While many within this tradition believe that the thin places are located at specific sites, I see thin places not so much physical, but the places within our lives where God’s holiness is evident.

I believe we had experienced a thin place.

These experiences don’t happen on a daily basis for me. But then again, I am not unfamiliar with the touch of God’s holiness in my life. Much like all of us. We can all recount certain times when God has been especially close. Those times we know God’s presence, and we catch our breath and want more.

I remember the time I prayed for my granddaughter, soon after she was born, and just before they whisked her off to the NICU. God’s presence was evident.

I recognize God’s presence at times when I sit with people during Spiritual Direction. Their stories often create a space where God makes himself known.

Sometimes when I’m walking alone with God, tears start flowing, and I know they are a result of the work of the Spirit on my soul.

These are thin places. God’s holiness and my humanity come together in a harmonized dance.

This is the touch of heaven. An intermittent reminder of what is and what is to come. It always leaves me thirsty for more. These moments, these thin places, are prompts which give me the encouragement I need to continue on this journey of faith. They tell me I am loved. That God is good. His holiness is tangible. And the kingdom of heaven is present with me.

What are your stories of experiencing thin places?  I would love to hear those stories in the comments.

 

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Rebecca Montie Preston
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Rebecca Montie Preston

Becky is a Spiritual Director from southeastern Pennsylvania.Her other roles include wife, mother of two, and grandmother of six.She has her MA from Biblical Theological Seminary, and studied at Renovare Institute for Spiritual Formation and Kairos School for Spiritual Direction.
Rebecca Montie Preston
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5 thoughts on “Thin Places

  1. Diane

    The ‘thin places’ – wow, what a great description. One time I was driving home from a day of errands, humming a praise tune – I have only a couple faves so it was one I had hummed many a time before. It was nothing new, or exciting, or different. I suddenly had the greatest desire to be with God – literally. I wanted him to take me to heaven more than I wanted to be on the earth, a feeling or thought I rarely have. It so consumed me that I feared that I would be in an accident on the way home that would take my life. The ‘thin place’ passed, but I drove extra-specially careful the rest of the way home. But it was grand, that ‘thin place’ and I want more! Thanks, Becky, for giving it a name!!

    Reply

  2. Rebecca Preston

    The problem is that all fear is wiped away and we want nothing more than to be with God. Glad you didn’t get swept up just yet. We still need you here.

    Reply

    1. Diane

      Me too…only cause I am in a fat place, not a thin place. HA!

      Reply

  3. Julie Steele

    I’ve had those times and those places. I just had a friend describe one to me and I immediately said, “oh, that’s a thin place.” I think many of us miss the thin places in our lives. And sometimes, maybe God gets our attention by putting one in front of us that we just can’t miss, just to remind us of who God is and that we are His.

    Reply

  4. Jen

    I was recently in the thin place in my shower. 🙂 I love that they can be anywhere and so unexpected.

    Reply

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