A few years ago, as I was driving up to Montreat, North Carolina for the Montreat Youth Conference, I was listening to a program on National Public Radio. It was one of those programs in which some very intelligent and witty people answer questions about words and their origins. The panelists were asked to define the word "theic." One panelist with a fake Southern accent jumped in and said, "Where I come from back home, it's the opposite of thin!" (If you don't get that, you're probably not from the South -- so try saying "theic" out loud.)
This talk of "theic" and "thin" reminded me of what someone said at that Montreat conference. The person talked about Celtic Christianity and the idea of "thin" places on earth. "Thin" places are thought to be certain locations on earth where God feels closer or more accessible. The Isle of Iona is thought to be such a place. This person thought Montreat might also be one of these "thin" places, because so many folks talk about how near God seemed to be when you are there. Maybe you have experienced something like that at other places.
Now I don't know how to think about such "thin" places theologically, or how all of that squares with the omnipresence of God - that God is everywhere. And I don't know if you can try to make a place "thinner," or if "thinness" is all grace and simply a gift from God. But I did wonder if the Chapel of Johns Creek Presbyterian Church is, or could become, one such "thin" place - a place where God seems especially close. Maybe for some of us, it already is.
One thing we have been promised is that when we gather for worship, especially in the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup we call Communion or the Lord's Supper, Christ has promised to be particularly present to us. So, as we gather to worship God and celebrate the Lord's Supper this Sunday, may we experience some of the "thinness" of this place and the presence of God!
But as for me, it is good to be near God. - Psalm 73:28a, NIV
Prayer for Today
Gracious God, sometimes you seem very close to us, yet other times it seems like you are distant. Help us to remember that however we experience your presence, you have promised to be with us always - even to the end of the age. Help us to hold on to your promise - especially when things are difficult. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.