Iona, a small island on the western coast of Scotland, is home to Iona Abbey, a place at which daily Christian prayer has taken place since about 563 A.D. when Saint Columba led a group of twelve companions to found a monastic community there.
Today, the Iona Community hosts pilgrims for spiritual renewal at a location many refer to as a “thin place,” an earthly location that feels closer to heaven. This is due not simply to beauty of landscape, though the pictures certainly indicate Iona is beautiful. A “thin space” has a heightened spiritual richness and connection to heaven.
What makes this so? We must surely ascribe it to the grace of God, for as James tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” (1:17a NIV)
Perhaps Iona is a “thin place” because of God’s grace working in the life of Saint Columba and the community he and his companions founded. Perhaps it is because God’s grace has been at work for almost 1500 years as God has been praised and sought daily in prayer.
I’ll be there tomorrow and look forward to sharing what I experience in the next couple of days.