Thin Places

If you are familiar with the writings of Marcus Borg, you know the phrase “thin places,” which he borrows from Celtic spirituality. As Borg states in The Heart of Christianity, he believes there are at least two dimensions of reality: ‘the visible world of our ordinary experiences and God, the sacred, Spirit…”Thin places” are places where these two levels of reality meet or intersect…where the veil momentarily lifts, and we behold God, experience the one in whom we live, all around us and within us.’ (pp.155-156)

We move in and out of thin places during our lives. I don’t think we can bear to linger in them. I feel that I have been moving through them in recent weeks. Even though the days have been difficult, there also has been a luminescent quality to them. Life seems to shimmer, if that makes sense.

During times like these we look to scripture to remind ourselves of our bedrock truths, and to recover the hope that comes from the collective memory of our sacred writings. I find I am continually meditating on the verse from Romans 8 to remind myself that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Like many of you, I also find God speaking to me in secular writings. My favorite author of late is Anthony Marra. In his most recent book, The Tsar of Love and Techno, the final chapter (pp. 319-329) puts us inside the mind of the sole survivor of Earth’s nuclear holocaust, as he hurtles toward the edge of the universe in a spacecraft. He is reflecting on the luminescence of his own life, as he listens to a recording of the voices of his girlfriend and his beloved brother. I have taken the liberty of creating the paragraph below out of my favorite sentences – with apologies to Mr. Marra, and with hope that it will help us recognize the thin places when we are in them:

…What an improbable thing it was to be alive….There were days when Earth’s small glories were luminous enough to dim church icons to duller golds….I have been blessed….What divine imagination could conjure up something so imperfect as life?…If ever there was an utterance of perfection, it is this. If God has a voice, it is ours.

– Cathy

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