The Season of Lent is upon us once again. As a church we begin our observance of this season of introspection and prayer with the Ash Wednesday service on March 5, 7 PM. Let us embrace the season with open hearts and deep longings. How would it be if just for this season we thought less about contests and moving up, profits and politics, past grievances and hurts, and more about mending and blending, reaching in and reaching out, and tending to those moments in our lives when the mystery of Grace finds its way to shine through in all the parched places of our daily grind?1
When the Worship Team met and studied together the Gospel lections for this year’s Lent back in January we were captured by the scriptures’ vision of the divine in the mundane, of God’s grace infusing the human reality and breaking through our blindness. We chose as the theme for this year’s Lent “Thin Places in Our Lives.” The following are examples of what I have found others said about “thin place.”
“ [A] think place is any place where the wall between this material world and the realm of the divine becomes so thin that we can experience a glimpse or taste of the glory, majesty, and love of God. Thin places may literally be places…in the Bible mountain tops and wildernesses were often thin places. Some of us have places we go where we seem to experience a sense of the holy and divine more nearly. Thin places may also be experiences, or music, or writings, or silence or people.”2
“Thin places are ports in the storm of life, where the pilgrims can move closer to the God they seek, where one leaves that which is familiar and journeys into the Divine Presence. They are stopping places where men and women are given pause to wonder about what lies beyond the mundane rituals, the grief, trials and boredom of our day-to-day life.
They probe to the core of the human heart and open the pathway that leads to satisfying, the familiar hungers and yearning common to all people on earth, the hunger to be connected, to be a part of something greater, to be loved, to find peace.”
These talks of “thin place” remind me of the saying I remember: we are not human beings having spiritual experiences but spiritual beings having human experiences. I pray that being grounded in God’s unconditional love through Jesus Christ, may we be transformed by Grace and restored to the spiritual core of our being as we embark on the Lenten journey.
p.s. One very worthy challenge: add fasting to your Lenten practice this year. Skip a meal a day, every other day, or a week, etc. and give the money you would spend on food to Imagine No Malaria campaign. We have pledged to raise $2,000 for the campaign by Easter at our Charge Conference that was held in December, 2013. We are calling it Fast4Life. Talk to Becky Buxton or me to find out more about Imagine No Malaria campaign.
1) Rephrasing of an anonymous poem, from Prayers of Healing, Conari Press, Berkeley, California, ©1997 by Maggie Oman, p. 45
2) Rev. Dean Snyder, Living in the thin places: sacramental places, from Foundry UMC, Washington, D.C. website, www.foundryumc.org
3) Mindie Burgoyne, Copyright ©by Great Blue Media, Marion Station, MD