Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Thin Place

Most people, I think, have certain places that are peculiarly and consistently mystical for them -- what Celtic Christianity calls "thin places". For me, Mount Angel Abbey is one such place. I was there this morning to hear one of their monks speak on the synoptic gospels. He had some good spiritual insights, but the real benefit for me was just being there.

Walking around the abbey grounds is like walking around my heart. It's an amazingly tranquil place with rarely more than a few people around. The view on either side of the hill is of surreal farm land and rolling hills for as far as you can see. The abbey also houses a seminary, so there's a world-class library there. The beautiful brick church building has an fantastic set of bells that announce the start of liturgical worship periodically and a wonderful pipe organ. And to top it all off, there's a Russian Orthodox museum.

I know there should be nothing remarkable about having a sense of God's presence at a monastery, but it's like this place was made for me.

1 comment:

BruceA said...

One of my "thin places" is a hill near Lindsborg, Kansas. This is where, in the 1500s, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado abandoned his search for cities of gold, and returned to Mexico. Coronado stood on top of this hill (or possibly another one nearby) and saw nothing but nature as far as the eye could see. In his honor, the hill is named Coronado Heights.

From the top of the hill, one can see a good 15-20 miles in any direction. It's a lightly populated area, mostly farms and rolling hills. Looking out at it all, I can see why, after creating the world, God said that it was very good.

My sophomore or junior year of college, several of us students had a sunrise Easter service on Coronado Heights. For perhaps the first time in my life, the resurrection seemed like a real and present event to me.

Thank God for thin places!