I love this idea of “thin places”. My understanding is that we get this term from Celtic Christianity, and it is those places where the gap between heaven and earth has collapsed and the two are somehow merging together. I confess I don’t fully understand and grasp the idea, but I think it is one of those things that you know when you see it. When God invades earth in Jesus Christ, we get the sense that his world is invading ours. His kingdom is coming on earth as in heaven, so I’ve heard a great Rabbi pray at least. Given that, I think there are those times where we can sense the Divine Presence of God and say, “I saw a glimpse of heaven.” I was privileged to have just that opportunity this past Sunday afternoon.
One of our sisters and dear friends in our faith family found out she had a brain tumor, and the doctors are expecting it to be malignant. You won’t find many people better than my friend Alita, and her husband Ron is one of my shepherds and spiritual mentors. I love these people, and our church does too. So you can imagine the emotions and feelings their families and our church is experiencing during this time. Alita asked the shepherds of our church to come and anoint her with oil and pray healing over her body, in line with the words of James the brother of Jesus. I am so thankful I got to be a part of this gathering.
During our prayer time, I watched one of our elders after praying over Alita rub the anointing oil on her forehead. Sure, there is nothing special about the oil per se, but the moment a person of God deeply engaged in prayer rubs this oil on the head of a faithful Christ follower, something special seems to happen. I’ll confess I opened my eyes to sneak a peak of this moment, and the look on my dear friend’s faces was that of the Holy Spirit alive and at work in their lives. The oil seemed to mix together with the tears of the saints gathered, and Alita was full of the Spirit. For a moment I think I was standing in a thin place. The barrier between heaven and earth seemed worn thin, and I got a glimpse of something holy and divine. It was a beautiful moment I’ll never forget. I thank God for these beautiful people who keep showing me the way of Christ and strengthening my faith.
And so I invite you to join me today in praying for my friend Alita and Ron. The tumor has been removed as of yesterday, and we await results. Our prayer is that the results come back saying it is benign, and we get surprised by good news. If you would, please lift up these special people in prayer over the next 24 hours as we wait on the outcome of these tests.
And when you go about your day, make sure you slow down enough to pay attention to possible thin places in your lives. I often look for God in the big and vibrant scenes, but I’m reminded that He often comes in silence, children, the face of the poor, mangers, and other unlikely places. Let us be attentive to these moments.