One of our mantras as a community at Redeemer is that we are a place where you can belong before you believe. We really want everyone who comes through our doors to feel like Redeemer can be a safe home for them no matter if you have professed faith for years or are just exploring the idea of Christianity. Keeping this in mind, we're aware that as our culture at Redeemer has developed, we've taken on certain words and phrases as a part of our church's own "language" that might be foreign to first time visitors or even people who have been around for a while who may have never heard their definition. Today, we will try to help you understand what someone means when they use the term "thin place."
The term "thin place" has its origins in Celtic Christianity and refers to particular places, sometimes in the natural world and sometimes influenced by man, where the earthly world and the divine come closer together.
People who enjoy hiking beautiful landscapes may be able to most easily grasp this concept. For this personality type, there's nothing quite like breaking over a mountain and seeing a majestic piece of land stretched out before you - painted with trees and lakes - to make you feel like you could reach out and touch the face of God.
Art can also help create a thin place. Have you ever stood in front of a painting or heard a composition of music so beautiful you physically felt a connection to the divine? Art affects our souls and makes us reach for something beyond ourselves. This reaching lowers the barriers between heaven and earth. Early Celtic tradition understood the distance between heaven and earth to be three feet but that distance is reduced to almost zero in these thin places.
We often refer to our worship service as a "thin place." When we say this, we mean that this time of worship removes barriers between us and God, making us feel like heaven and earth are meeting inside our very sanctuary. As heaven and earth meet, other things melt away. It's harder to focus on temporary and material things when we come so close to the Divine.