Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday

At the church where I work we talk a lot about something Marcus Borg calls "thin places." This is where the ether of life becomes so thin that you can't help but to have a spiritual experience. This is a nice, left-wing, post-modern Christian way of saying this is when you feel God working in your presence.

I blogged yesterday about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and I also was the devoter at yesterday's staff meeting. I usually think that these devotions are a waste of time. When I do devotions, I usually find some wacky holiday on the internet or on my multicultural calendar and talk about that.

Yesterday was different. I brought cookies to the meeting for my birthday, but I also talked about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I talked about my "thin place" that I had at the concert.

For me, I had a thin place during a song called "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." Of course, you may know this one. It's the title of the MTC's latest CD and the arrangement they were singing (by Mack Wilberg, of course) is brand new. It's a moving piece of music.

The women sing unison, then in parts at the beginning. The orchestra plays an interlude and the men sing in 4-part harmony while creating a key change. The whole piece then comes together with the third verse begin repeated twice. The last time is a huge swell from the chorus and orchestra.

The last words of the hymn are "Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above." This was very moving. Not in a complete break down, I'm crying in my seat kind of way. I would have just been embarassing myself sitting so closely to the people next to me. But I could tell that each of the 360 people in the choir and 110 people in the orchestra, as well as the (probably) 5,000 people in Wells Fargo Arena were all in the same place...their "thin place."

It was magical to say the least.

Question: When was the last time you experienced a "thin place" or knowing that God was there in your presence?


  1. I love that song. I’d love to say my last “thin place” was this morning – as in, I have a quiet time every morning. But that wouldn’t really be true. I can say that the first night I did my online Bible study I definitely felt God’s presence. And I really, really felt it on Easter morning when I was forced to sing the horribly repetitive Mighty to Save for the fourth time in 18 hours. Go figure!

  2. Well, maybe the repitition made "it" happen for you on Easter morning. People who find true transcendence usually find it by repeating syllables that are in our bodies naturally: om ma ni pad me hum. There are also Jewish prayers that are really repetitive because they believe that's how God hears them (of course, that's assuming God hears). For instance: May I be peaceful. May you be peaceful. May all be peaceful. They say that over and over until it "sticks" I guess. So, perhaps the repetitiveness was what caused your thin place, even if it was the 300th time.