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Holy Hill

By Dan Baumgartner on
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Mar 21 in Musings
I have this place. I may have mentioned it once in a sermon. It’s a “thin place.” That is the ancient Celtic Christian terminology for a place where God’s presence seems especially poignant. Their belief was that heaven resides just 3 feet above the earth, a sort of parallel universe, but that there are special “thin places” where even that distance is much smaller and human beings can sense the nearness of God in a palpable way.
My experience of this started in 2010. We were visiting Anne’s folks in Maui, where they live for a good chunk of the year. There is a hill across the street from their condo, and if you walk a number of blocks up the hill and then across, you find yourself at the top of a small park space with a sweeping view of the ocean and adjacent islands. It’s lovely. In 2010, pondering the possibility that we might be called here to Hollywood, I had a holy moment. God spoke in a quiet voice, with affirmation and direction.
In the last eight or nine years, I’ve had many opportunities to go back and climb that same hill to sit. God’s voice has not come every time, but it has on a number of occasions. Maybe it has to do with me being relaxed on vacation and therefore a more attuned listener. Or maybe the Celts were really onto something with the thin place idea. Moses heard God several times on Mt. Horeb- where he received the ten commandments. Twice. Maybe this gentle bluff is my Horeb. There’s certainly some mystery in this. There is no magic formula. I can’t make these moments happen. They don’t all sound the same or feel the same. Sometimes I’ve received a word while walking and other times while sitting and other times not at all. But the fact that it has happened leads me to approach my climb up the hill with a heightened anticipation. Will God speak again?  Will I hear? Am I paying attention? What would it sound like if he did speak?
To be honest, I think the exact place is probably much less important than my posture and anticipation. God speaks and acts in many ways and places, all the time. I want to be ready, expectant and open. All the time. God is speaking.  Are we listening?
See you soon,
            Pastor Dan

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