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Saturday, 9 May 2015

Thin Places

Our plans this morning include a visit to a location which is for me, a thin place. I understand a thin place to be a geographical spot where heaven and earth overlap in an almost tangible way. I would say the islands of Iona and Lindisfarne are such thin places, spots where the prayers and faith of many, extending back through time, have eroded the separating wall between here and eternity.
I would think the Sea of Galilee is also such a place, as believers think about Jesus and imagine him bobbing on those waters, two millennia ago. I found it so when I visited with my mom a few years ago.
The thin place this morning is not such a universal spot. No doubt many people pass by there completely unaware of its qualities. It is just a gated garden next to a church.
In the soil of that garden, though, lie the cremated remains of my dear sister and her husband. I accompanied them to church services in that church, it seems centuries ago. When they were both full of life and laughter and hopes and dreams.
Now the church is occupied by people of a different nationality, speaking a different language. Everything has changed, except the content of that soil. Nothing magical about it. Nothing more sacred than anywhere else. But for me, and for my family, a touchstone with a loved one who went away before her time, a loved one whose memory lives on but more importantly, whose spirit lives on in a place devoid of pain, sorrow and tears. A place where Jesus can be seen face to face.
I am glad she is there, but still I miss her. She went away at 37; next Wednesday she would have turned 66. I can't imagine her at that age, but I can imagine the laughter and fun we could have still enjoyed had she survived.
There will be tears in that thin place this morning. Tears of loss but tears of hope, too, for I trust in God's promise that he knows the plans he has for us, at all ages, plans for good and to prosper us to give us hope and blessing. The tears, really, are because I miss her still. There is always catharsis and healing when I visit this thin place.

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