Recently, I learned of the Celtic Christian tradition of ” thin places.” Thin places
are those in which the distance between Heaven and earth seems smaller. For some
people a thin place might be a favorite summer camp, a hike in a deep woods, or
walking a trail in tall mountains.
I would like to think that we who worship at St. Andrew’s regard our church as a
thin place. Doesn’t our beautiful music and inspired liturgy and preaching invoke
in us the feeling that Heaven is very near? And if Heaven is near it follows that
God is closer to us as well.
The trick, it seems to me, is to take that “nearer to Heaven and God” feeling with
us when we leave the church and enter the secular world. For it is very easy to
interpret the ways of the contemporary world as far from God. How can we feel that
God is near when so much that happens in the world seems closer to Hell?
I don’t have an easy answer for this other than to suggest that all of us at St. Andrew’s
need the renewing hope of Sunday worship. I, for one, need to weekly renew and
remind myself that Heaven is nearer than the outside world portrays it. I must capture
again and again the feeling of rebirth that accompanies worship. For what I am able
to do in the thin place of St. Andrew’s is to capture a tiny bit of that Heaven that is so
close. And I try to hold my little slice close to my heart. When my bit of Heaven feels
close, I am thus continually reminded that I worship a God who transcends the world,
and is ever near, ever just, and ever merciful.