Monday, July 13, 2009

Up at the "Thin Place"

Lake Junaluska is, in the nomenclature of retreat and conference buffs, "A Thin Place." By that I mean it is one of those locations where the divide between this world and the spiritual realm seems a lot less resistant and it's much easier to break through. There is a portal of sorts here, that is fixed and in place.

Traditional Celtic religious practices - so I understand - describe a "membrane" surrounding the temporal realm. At certain times, or at certain places, the membrane is stretched thin and it becomes possible for people to penetrate and experience the "other-worldly". Think of it like a balloon, or the bladder of a football.

I understand the concept. Sometimes a church can be like that; sometimes a particular moon-lit night; sometimes a conversation with a friend or even a stranger. But there are places that seem to hold that quality all the time. I think of Mo-Ranch in Texas, the Cathedral at Ely in England, Lookout Mountain near Montreat, NC, any meeting of my Sunday-evening small-group... and then here, at Lake Junaluska.

One of the wonderful things about Jesus is that God actually entered time and space so that we would not be dependent on such "thin places" to experience the presence of God. Because of Jesus my spiritual being can be active and fed every single day!

Still, I am weak, I am poorly disciplined, and I often struggle in the way Paul outlines so clearly at the end of Romans chapter 7. And so I am thankful for the help places such as this provide. I am thankful that my spiritual sensitivities are heightened when I participate in events such as this, and I am thankful that God loves me so much that God reaches in and touches me, even when I struggle - especially when I struggle.

Love and blessings - DEREK

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