Thin Places come from the ancient Celtic tradition. The term “Thin Places” is used to describe a place where the distance between God and ourselves is very thin, and God is only a breath away. Thin Places were usually ancient holy sites, such as wells and hilltops where, for generations, pilgrims would sense the presence of God deeply and intimately. I have come to believe that in our modern times Thin Places can be anywhere the mystical sense of God’s presence is felt, because God is everywhere! A Thin Place can often be found in nature and at events such as birth, a wedding or the end of life. A Thin Place might be in our Bethesda garden, our outdoor chapel services, or inside our beautiful church. For many, music can evoke a Thin Place; while some find it in a deep and meaningful conversation with a close friend. For others Thin Places can be found at retreats, in prayer, biblical study, spiritual rituals or even laughter.
Anam Cara is another ancient Celtic term meaning Spiritual friend, or soul friend. In the early church, a person who was a spiritual guide, teacher, or companion was called an Anam Cara. With an Anam Cara you trust, one could reveal one’s inner-most self and thoughts. In modern times an Anam Cara or soul friend can be a person or group of people with whom you can speak freely about your spiritual life. In the ancient church, nearly everyone had an Anam Cara as it was, and still is, a beautiful way of understanding friendship and love joined in a deep and eternal way.
Finding an Anam Cara and learning to share one’s Thin Places can become a source of spiritual growth which deepens our faith. Pentecost is fast approaching: it’s a time for remembering when the Holy Spirit comes upon God’s people. I encourage you to think about your Thin Places and Anam Cara, and by the power of the Holy Spirit how they might have touched your life in deep and meaningful ways. If you are interested in finding an Anam Cara, I invite you to join either The Men of Bethesda /MOB or the Daughters of The King /DOK. These are wonderful groups that are filled with God’s caring people.
May the blessings of Thin Places and Anam Cara be yours to find in the summer days ahead.