Thin Places

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon him while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6

Would you consider yourself a seeker?

ireland_61_bg_061502Do you find yourself always on the lookout for God, longing to know more about Him, longing to find Him and to hear His voice?  Celtic Christianity has a wonderful concept called “thin places.” According to this belief, a “thin place” is one where “the veil between heaven and earth is lifted.”  God’s presence is so strongly felt, that the human and the divine are only separated by a very thin space.  Because Ireland is full of such beautiful natural landscape, many of these “thin places” were believed to be sacred places in nature.  The cliffs, the ocean, the rocky landscape.

But thin places can be found anywhere—a comfy chair on your back porch, a hidden path through the woods, a busy city street.  And thin places can also be found in moments of time: the birth of a child, a family celebration, a moving liturgy, a beautiful song, or an experience helping someone in need.  The important thing is that when you encounter one of these thin places, you experience an encounter with God.  My husband has always said he feels closest to God among the mountains of Vermont, with their green brilliance and lofty peaks.

Seekers are often full of questions: Why? What does God want?  What should I do?  What is God’s will?  Seekers will turn to God with concerns about moral dilemmas and difficulties with particular aspects of our faith.  The important thing (and to me, very comforting thing) to know is that God embraces our questions.  He wants us to come to Him with everything we have…even our doubt.  The goal of truly knowing God is one that will never be fully realized in this life.  I AM WHO AM.  God is ultimately unknowable… but our journey to seek and learn about God is where we find meaning in life.

However…

Sometimes we grow weary of seeking.  Sometimes all we want is to be found.  Or there may be times that we get derailed in our search for God.  Stress…Worry…Suffering.  All of this can get in the way of our efforts to seek the Lord.  Fr. Stan Kennedy, M.S. (may his departed soul rejoice in everlasting life!) gave a wonderful reflection on the parable of the Lost Sheep.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  It is not the job of the sheep to go off looking for the shepherd.  And so as believers, we have one simple job… to be found.

And so during those times of stress or suffering, we need to forget about our seeking and embrace God as our HOME.  God knows us intimately and loves us unconditionally and we don’t have to do any work for that to happen.  All we have to do is let God wrap His loving arms around us and welcome us home.  And if we consistently invite God into our every day experiences…He will find us.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. At what times do you identify with the seeker? Where do you go to seek out God?
  2. Reflect on some of the “thin places” you have discovered in your faith journey.
  3. When are the times when you simply long to be found? How does God represent “home” to you?

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