There is an old Celtic saying, “Heaven and earth are only feet apart, but in those thin places the distance is smaller yet”. The Celts believed that a “thin place” is where the veil separating heaven and earth is so thin a person who experiences it can receive glimpses of the glory of God. Thin places are places where we can not only gain vision beyond the natural realm but can more easily hear God’s voice – receive His direction and miraculously grasp his divine purposes for our lives. It is a prophetic place, a reverent place; a place to be still, to listen and once hearing respond in obedience. When we decided to build our new chapel here at the base of Timber Butte it was in our hearts to have such a place. It would be a place where we could deliberately seek God’s peace and direction at a time when the world around us has become increasingly unstable and unsustainable.
Starting construction in June I spent day after day hand mixing loads of mortar and setting rock in the hot summer sun. It was mundane, repetitive work, but it turned out to be an unexpected rich experience with the Lord. When I started, it had been in my mind that one day when the chapel was completed it would be then that we could spend times of solitude seeking God’s presence there. Looking back at the process in retrospect however, I now realize that such a time as that started long before the walls were finished. It was in the early phase of the building process that I began experiencing the Lord’s presence and started asking God to speak concerning the world’s condition and about Nancy and my life and what He would desire of us as we enter our final golden years together. I’ll admit that at times I had to fight against the temptation to let the world’s problems dominate my thinking. There were issues like the present day dysfunction of American politics, our global environmental crisis and its effect on the extreme poor as well as other issues of social injustice. Things like these nagged at my thoughts and tried to steal my inner peace and ability to focus on finding that thin place. God did in the end help me discover a path past these very human obstacles in order to experience His thin place, but the story of how that occurred is worthy of a future blog of its own.