Thin Places

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A Pastor's Thoughts

Conceptually, I have known of “thin places” for a number of years but never really gave it a whole lot of thought. Thin places, like many other Celtic traditions, hold a certain mystical fascination for me. The Celts developed this sort of thinking long before the long arm of western Christianity invaded their world. Simply put, a thin place was and is just that, a physical location where the separation between the divine and the earth is thin. I believe we can expand that beyond the borders of Ireland and Scotland and say that we have all experienced thin places in our lives – those mystical, unexplainable touches with the divine that both test and strengthen our faith. Contemplative Franciscan Richard Rhor calls this place “the edge “, and suggests we should cultivate being there. “The edge is a holy place, or as the Celts called it, “a thin place”…

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Never to late…

So, often I see people who have put away thier crayons , never able to play again!  One day I walked in to a Exmouth day center and it was my job to inspire and help them to create and this day I was able to be an instrument, to undo years of blocked creativity! To be able to do this work was such an honour.  

 Week after week I would breeze in with my paints, magazines and flowers, set up a still life and have a wonderful time! In the class there was a beautiful women, she sat with her arms crossed, closed and determined not to draw or paint, her name was Betty. 
I soon found out what she loved, birds, flower and nature.  Every week I would place a pencil , brush and small pan of colors carefully  next to Betty. One rainy day, with out warning she stared to open up to me.  Well on this day it all came tumbling out, in short she said her 6 grade art teacher came over to her and told her “The rose she was painting looked like a cabbage!”  What ! I exclaimed , that’s so wrong! I was shocked to find out that Betty put down the paint brush and never drew or painted again. I told here a bit about my story and we sipped tea and had a grumble. ” Soul murder ” I declared that is what that is I said. I was called to the other side of the table to help clean up a spill and as we all started to sing  one of my favorit oldies ” Daisy ” I could see Betty out of the courner of my eye, she had thought it though and with a sligh smirk she carefully picked up the brush and with deliberate determination she began to paint! It was beautiful  and she was very good soon making pictures and cards that her family framed and hung proudly on there walls. I really had not done anything  just listened, was just kind, gave time and showed a bit of love. I truly believe creativity is inherent in the human make up! Everyone has a desire to create in some way but equally we can tear down and distroy.