On a regular basis I hear friends and family comment on how busy and tired they are, and I wholeheartedly lump myself in with them. Those comments, which are not always complaints, remind me of Bilbo Baggins’ remarking to Gandalf in the book The Fellowship of the Ring,
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
I know not everyone is in this place, but I do know that a lot of us are. It is in such places that we need a sense of God’s presence, but we tell ourselves that due to our tiredness and busy-ness we have failed to draw close to God, and thus don’t deserve the comfort of God’s presence.
I also believe that with Jesus’ giving of the Holy Spirit to the church the kingdom of God is here with us now. In this holds the promise of God’s kingdom breaking in on our daily lives in life-giving and life-changing ways. These can be called holy places, and, if I understand correctly, the Celtic Christian tradition calls these “thin places.”
Jesus started his rabbinical career with the message,
“Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” (Mark 1:14)
It was to a thin time that Jesus made the invitation to break through at the thin place. God’s presence is here now, and as I shared last week, God’s presence is experienced when we make ourselves apparent to God.
“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus understands thin times. He isn’t looking for us to work our way to God. He is inviting us. The thin times will not always stay thin, but the thin places are as available as our willingness to turn toward God. The hope of the kingdom of God is that as we experience the restorative presence of God, we too will become “thin places” for Christ’s salvation to break through.
Grace and peace,