“Heaven and Earth,” the Celtic saying goes, “are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.”
A thin place may not actually be a place at all but a distance between two beings or the quality of a relationship. When I feel very close to God, when the gap between the Holy and the human seems negligible, I am in a thin place.
In the book of Genesis, when Jacob’s past deeds are catching up with him, he takes off…exhausted, he lies down and uses a rock for a pillow. He dreams of a ladder reaching from earth to heaven and angels are ascending and descending. God speaks to Jacob, reassuring him that God will go with him wherever he goes. It is a thin place.
I have been in many thin places, which include: robust hymn singing at a St Louis Association meeting; sharing communion with PUCC leadership at Camp Mo-Val; JHLTB 1 and 2; Habitat for Humanity workday right beside the homeowner; standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls; petting a calm cat on my lap; wading in the current of the river; crying in a Hallmark commercial booth in Crown Center; walking the Labyrinth at the Mercy Center; sitting alone in the Historic Sanctuary; lighting a candle in a dark room; driving through the mountains; talking with a family in Appalachia or a couple on a Native American Reservation in Arizona; staring at autumn leaves; rocking a baby in the middle of the night; praying for unity as I receive blessings in the nearby Mosque; running my hands/feet through the sand on a beach; looking into the face of a stranger; being ushered into the presence of the Spirit of Christ in worship—Jesus being the ultimate thin place.
Some would say that thin places are rare. I think they are everywhere—we just have to open our senses.