Photo is of the Scottish Highlands from the personal journal of actuality.log on emphaticallystatic.org.
I first heard the term ‘Thin Place’ from my closet-mystic buddy in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was a brilliant mind, worked in the medical field and for all exterior looks was a very rational, cerebral man. But on the inside he longed for the ‘thin places.’ Those places where the holy and mundane collide. Those places where we get a surprise glimpse of the eternal, the Kingdom revealed – he used to tell me.
The phrase stuck with me – Thin Places, holy moments. He always slipped into an Irish brogue when he said it – so I’ve always equated Thin Places with the Scottish Highlands. Even though Scottish and Irish are different…I know. The point is we had a Thin Place moment this weekend in our service.
You wouldn’t think a Thin Place moment would happen in a service where all the kids under 5th grade were at the front in a conversation with the pastor. At least, I wouldn’t have ever thought it would happen in that kind of setting. My biggest goal was to stay as engaging and active with the kids as possible so they would understand the concept of Wonderful Counselor.
I also was prepared in case it went pear-shaped (see last week’s devo).
It’s a double-edge sword working with kids like this. They have no filter. Which means awesome interaction as well as …”Hey look, it’s a squirrel” moments.
And we had some squirrel moments. One child saying she hated wearing clothes for Christmas. Another saying that her cat was the most wonderful thing in her life. Another talking about how wonderful ninjas are.
And then it happened.
“What else is wonderful, beyond words wonderful in your life?”
The. Room. Just. Stopped.
Thin Place. Holy Moment.
It felt like eternity was stuffed in those 3 seconds.
The boy was in our life group. He and his sister loved coming over. I looked at the boy’s dad. He was in part shock, part awe. I knew him well. I wasn’t sure how he was keeping it together. I figured he’d be a blubbering, crying mass of emotions. I looked at the mom. She was beaming, like she was going to float right out of her chair.
The entire room took a breath.
The parents had already raised their own kids – gone, on their own. They were looking forward to some grandchildren. Then the someone asked for the largest favor on the planet – we need help. We’ve got these two kids – a brother and a sister – they don’t have anywhere to go.
What were they supposed to do? Say no? On the other hand, what were they thinking? Start all over again? Did they have that many more miles on the tread?
It’s been a year or two. The adoption was final just in the last couple of months. There’s never been any regrets. The kids think they got the coolest parents in the world (they do), the parents wonder how they are still doing this and loving this (they really do know the answer to that as well).
What a word for the rest of us at Christmas. The boy was talking about himself but he might as well been talking about all of us. Christmas is about adoption. Our adoption into the family of God through our faith in the Christ-child.
Christ was born and lived so that we could say the most wonderful thing in the world is…
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. I John 3:1 MSG