WHAT is the difference between ‘place’ and ‘space’?

Bishop John Inge, in his book A Theology of Place explores this question in depth and comes to the conclusion that a place is a space upon which we fix boundaries of some sort. We have the open space of our garden, but we make it a place by placing a fence around it. Bishop Inge goes on to describe how there are some spaces and places in which we can find it far easier to feel close to God, to reconnect with the Spiritual in our lives; he refers to these as ‘Thin’ places.

Places where the perceived gap between us and God is thinner and as a consequence it is easier to feel close to and to reconnect with God. As we continue to come out from lockdown and as we are able to get out to visit more places and to enjoy more spaces I hope and pray that we are also able to find space in our busy lives for God.

Taking the time to seek out that place or space that for us is ‘thin’, that enables us to be more aware of God’s presence with us.

The Bible assures us that where ever we go God is with us and whenever we seek him, we will find him. Speaking through the Prophet Jeremiah, God promises that “When you search for me, you will find me” (29:13).

At the time of writing I am sitting in the tranquil gardens at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, England’s Nazareth, one of my ‘Thin’ places, my hope and prayer is that we are all able to find that Thin place, and that we are all able to find our God.

The Reverend Alex Ladds SSC.

Chaplain, Giggleswick School

Assistant Curate, Broughton, Marton and Thornton