Open Letter to GoRuck Team 2nd F / Thin Places
Team 2nd F:
Listening to a speaker on Celtic Spirituality recently, I was reminded of the concept of “thin places” on this earth – places where the veil between this world and the next seems to be lifted ever so slightly, as though heaven is almost visible. For centuries, stories have used the idea of thin places as a foundation for tales of human experience. A thin place is often thought of as a place on earth of such profound wonder that it seems as though the usually opaque division between heaven and earth is separated by nothing more than tissue paper or gauze, that if one only looks closely enough or right at the perfect angle, one could behold the beauty of all time and space. In a thin place, you may actually be able to glimpse the presence of God or the manifestation of God’s love.
Usually, thin places are places of wild, rugged beauty; perhaps they are places that are thinnest during “thin moments” like the instant before dawn, the instant of a lunar eclipse, or another moment of wonder and awe-inspiring beauty. Celtic Christians in the 5th century believed that an individual could not create, cause or even find a thin place. Rather, bearing witness to such a place at such a moment in time simply happened to them.
Recently, I have come to believe that thin places don’t have to be at the edge of the world, at the point where the sea meets the earth, or the highest peak. I have come to believe that thin places can be simple places like gravel parking lots and worn middle school football fields. And while I agree that an individual probably cannot influence the existence of thin places, it seems that a power greater than one man – a power like two dozen men of singular purpose, a group of men compelled to commune together while striving to increase their stature in the eyes of their God – may be capable of doing so. I’ve come to believe that F3 is directly responsible for many a thin place that I’ve experienced in the last year. It is only a funny coincidence that the fitness component of F3 has also made me a little thinner myself.
Since I discovered F3 last year, I felt like I have rediscovered a sense of purpose that had been dormant in me for a long time. Since I have spilled sweat (and a few drops of blood) with my brothers in F3, I have enjoyed the celebration of my physicality in a shared way that I haven’t experienced since high school. Since I discovered the fellowship I enjoy with the men of F3, I have felt the kinship and brotherhood I have been craving for a long time, possibly my entire life. Since I have prayed with you in COTs and other places, I have noticed a restoration and strengthening of my own faith in a way that I can only describe as a swelling in my heart. That swelling continues to burst in surprising ways and has resulted directly in me being compelled to action and a desire for more of it!
Through F3, I feel as though I have a loose grip on something profoundly beautiful, something powerful and graceful. I think that’s what a thin place is, and I have F3 and each of you to thank for it. Let’s go find some thin places in the cold together tomorrow night, brothers.