In Celebration of ‘Thin’ Spaces

The only “thin spot” I have any more is on the top of my head, but I do love “thin spots.” In Celtic spirituality a “thin spot” is a geographical place where the distance between Heaven and Earth seems thinner. These are sacred spaces where we seem to more easily enter into God’s presence. I love such spots!

I discovered one such spot in an unusual place. Wednesday evenings I make it a point to go to the Out Flow shelter. There like most nights they serve a public meal at which 80 to 100 people eat. As people finish eating a worship team begins to play. Gradually most of the crowd begin to filter out, but a remnant remain to enjoy the music and the praises which the Lord ‘inhabits’. Ironically as the crowd thins out so does the atmosphere. After about 20 minutes Phil takes the podium and opens the Word and begins to teach. He is very gifted. He does not ‘dumb’ the scriptures down for a mostly illiterate audience but makes it plain. He gladly addresses questions during his teaching times.

After the Bible Study we have communion together. At this sacred time there is no distinction between; volunteer and guest, between employed and unemployed, educated and uneducated, rich or poor. We all find ourselves equal at the foot of the cross. As we consume bread and drink juice the atmosphere is exceedingly thin. I have been a part of communion services without number but this, for me, is the holiest! I look forward to these times and on the rare occasion that I can not attend, I miss it.

This past week we had a memorable moment. A young fellow who had obviously been living ‘rough’ for some time, spotted the bread and juice which was set for later use. He interrupted to ask if he could have some. He had just eaten and so he was not asking out of physical hunger but of spiritual hunger. Perhaps he did not feel worthy of inclusion and was asking if God’s grace could be extended to him. Phil explained what we were doing and invited our friend to wait with us and that indeed we are all welcome at the table.

I was reminded of my unworthiness and of God’s grace that night as we ate and drank ‘in remembrance of him’.

In the same way that places can be ‘thin’ because of their use they can become thick with darkness and evil when ill-used. Things are made holy or unholy by their use! We have been reminded this week of the presence of darkness and evil. I commend to you the words of the children’s song I sang so long ago “In this world of darkness, so we must shine, you in your small corner and I in mine.” I want to be a portable ‘thin spot’ and not just off the top of my head.