Thin Places-Sacred Spaces

A meditation for Beloved Community from Genesis 28:10-17


Maybe the dream was in the stone?

Running for his life, fleeing from the world as he knew it,

Jacob lay down in the middle of the desert.

Warm sand stretched out beneath his body.

A rock supported his neck as a pillow.

Just as connected to the earth as one could be,

Jacob fell asleep and began to dream a heavenly dream.


A ladder, with angels ascending and descending.

God standing beside him, offering a blessing for his future,

calming and quelling his growing fears.

“Surely God is in this place, and I did not know it!” Jacob said,

“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God,

and the gate of heaven.”


“Beth-el,” Jacob named that place. House of God.


There are places on earth that are like this.

Places that are so earthly they seem heavenly.

Places that are so real they seem eternal.

Places that are so imminent they seem transcendent.


The Celtics named these, “Thin Places.”

“Locales where the distance between heaven and earth

collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine.”

“Heaven and earth are only three feet apart,” the Celtics said,

“But in thin places the distance is even shorter.”


Thin places are those where the veil separating

the sacred from the ordinary is removed,

and in response

the veil covering our true, integral, essential self is removed.

We are unmasked, unveiled, unencumbered in the presence of the Divine

present to us, right here, on the face of the earth.


When we stretch out our body across sand and stone,

sorrow and joy,

pain and peace,

despair and hope,

shame and acceptance,

When we become present to the real things of this earth,

The Really Real draws near to us.


Or maybe we recognize how near the Really Real has been all along?

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