Advent 2022: Thin Places

Published December 2, 2022 by Rachel and Zach Graves

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

The end of a long run. Returning home after a trip. A job well done. A quiet room. Watching our dogs as they sleep. Relaxing on the beach. Standing on the summit of a mountain.

These are glimpses of peace fulfilled in our lives. What is peace for you? Time away from people? Time with people? Deep breaths? A person? A place? An event? Maybe these moments of peace for all of us in our human lifetime are glimpses of God's everlasting peace fulfilled. Maybe God's peace is a tranquility we cannot fathom in this lifetime. Maybe the moments we experience here are only a small portion of a peace we can only begin to imagine.

In college, we met through a CBF religious organization called the Cooperative Student Fellowship or CSF. Once we started dating, the first retreat we went on together gave us an opportunity to learn about and consider the Celtic Christian tradition of thin places. According to Eric Weiner, a spiritual writer, thin places are "those rare locales where the distance between heaven and Earth collapses." In other words, thin places are the places we can more fully experience God's love and peace during our lifetime on Earth. On that retreat to the North Carolina mountains, we learned that our thin places overlap significantly. The two of us feel God's peace in similar ways. For us, God's peace fulfilled occurs in the small moments scattered throughout our days and lives, alone and together.

During our time at South Main, we have experienced thin places as we grow in our faith and understanding of God. On Christmas Eve, when we sing Silent Night and take our lights out into the community; we felt God's peace fulfilled in that moment. The sound of the singing voices. The gurgle of the fountain. The soft glow of candlelight. Maybe a cool nip in the air. The smiles and hugs. That is a feeling of peace. Silent night, holy night. All is calm. All is bright.

What moments represent profound peace in your life?