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Finding thin spaces

No Line on the Horizon

No Line on the Horizon | Photo by Jonathan Blundell

There’s a beautiful image that comes from the Celtic tradition — a moment and space in time where heaven and earth are so close together that the spiritual and the natural world intersect.

A place where it is possible to touch and be touched by God.

The Celtic’s referred to these spaces as “thin spaces” — the moments when we experience a deep sense of God’s presence in our everyday world.

As we seek a simple life, I think we can also find these spaces in our relationships with others as well.

But what is it that causes us to move from the thin spaces in our lives and towards “mile high spaces?”

I tend to believe that everything is spiritual and yet in our day to day lives we continue to push against those thin spaces and push back against the intersections of God and others in our lives.

In our western culture we tend to idolize our individualism and our personal rights.

We tend to put our personal wants and needs above all else — and in doing so, we lose sight of the valuable thin spaces around us.

After spending some time with the under-resourced in India, Rachel Evans writes in her book, Evolving in Monkey Town

It seems the kingdom of God is made up of “the least of these.” To be present among them is to encounter what the Celtic saints called “thin spaces,” places or moments in time in which the veil separating heaven and earth, the spiritual and the material, becomes almost transparent. I’d like to think that I’m a part of this kingdom, even though my stuff and my comforts sometimes thicken the veil. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control — these are God things, and they are available to all, regardless of status or standing. Everything else is just extra, and extra can be a distraction. Extra lulls us into complacency and tricks us into believing that we need more than we we need.”

I often get that same picture when I think about all the stuff that surrounds me.

My stuff is often what gets in the way of finding new thin spaces around me.

My stuff is what causes me to build fences and walls to protect myself and my stuff.

But there’s comfort, satisfaction, freedom, joy, laughter and more when we identify the thin spaces in our lives.

Just imagine how different our lives would be if thin spaces became the norms in our lives rather than the exception…

Imagine how different our marriages would be, or our relationships with our children…

What would you trade for that kind of comfort, peace, joy and freedom?

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Posted: September 27th, 2010 by Jonathan D. Blundell
Read more in: Give it Away
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