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Naming Our Thin Spaces

posted May 1, 2016, 5:19 AM by Melissa Navratil

I have a friend who loves St. Patrick’s Day. She prepares stew of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots for dinner that will have simmered a good part of the day in her slow cooker. She invites friends over for the evening and along with the dinner they will have Irish beer and soda bread from a local bakery. The same friend will bring an Irish Cream Chocolate Cake for desert. At the end of the day her soul has been filled not only with food but with love.

I’ve always enjoyed the story of Saint Patrick. Patrick was an English youth enslaved by the Irish, who, after escaping, returned as a priest to live among his former oppressors. In How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill asserts Patrick was “the first human being in the history of the world to speak out unequivocally against slavery.”

Yet even more I love the Christianity he helped blend into what has become known as Celtic Spirituality. Instead of a male hierarchy, sin filled, and after life focused life, a model developed that reflects the beloved disciple in the Gospel of John whose head rested on Jesus’ breast during the Last Supper “listening for the heartbeat of God.” Celtic spiritualty offers a model of faith that reflects more equality between male and female leadership, less differentiation between clergy and laity decision making, and it innovated the use of soul friends/guides, and recognized that everyone was a child of God, created in God’s image.

Central to Celtic spirituality is the natural presence of “Thin Places” in people’s lives. Thin Places are locations where the ordinary and the spirit seem to embrace. It may be a walk in the woods or sitting by a lake. It may be sitting alone or with people who are special to you. It is the time and place that nurtures your soul. We all have them but we seldom name them.

Take time to claim Thin Places in your life. Where are the everyday places and what are the ordinary activities that nurture your soul? Can you name them as Thin Places where you are embraced by the power of Love?

For my friend St. Patrick’s day is a Thin Place.

We all have them; can you name yours?