Marcia Laycock is a pastor’s wife, mother of three daughters, caregiver to two golden retrievers and a six-toed cat. She was the winner of the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. She is currently working on the sequel.
The day shone glorious, full of sunshine and light, full of fellowship and a strong sense of belonging. It was all the more significant to me because I was not among my home congregation. I was just over five thousand kilometres away, in a beautiful little church in a tiny village in Nova Scotia Canada. And I felt right at home.
I joined with the congregation as they sang a few songs, led by the pastor and a worship band, then one of the leaders stood to talk about all the upcoming events. He did so with a flourish that made us laugh often. Then he grew a bit more serious and said he knew of an old Scottish legend about “thin spots.” They are described as places where we sense we are close to heaven. He sincerely prayed we would all feel that we’d been in a “thin spot” by the end of the service. As the time grew to a close we celebrated communion and his prayer was answered.
As I left the church that day I realized that it is the “thin spot” that I am trying to achieve in my writing. My goal is to draw the reader into a place full of sunshine and light, where he or she will sense the presence of God, ponder His mercy and grace and respond. I realized too that in order to achieve that goal I must find myself in that place often. In order to draw my readers there, I must have been there myself. It’s part of the often heard, “write what you know.”
The good news is that we already exist in that place, whether or not we feel it. By God’s sovereign design, we are continually in His presence, indwelt by His Spirit and guided by His hand. As writers I believe we need to understand that profound truth and live in it, acknowledging the longing in our own hearts and expressing it as best we can in words, sentences and paragraphs that sing with truth.
The Bible tells us that we must train our minds. I believe we must also train our eyes to look for God’s signature in the ordinary, hear His voice in the intonations of those around us, His glory in the spill of light on the door of a village church.
We can stand in a thin spot every moment of the day. Then it is our privilege and our responsibility to write that experience. All to the glory of God.