One of my spiritual practices during my sabbatical was walking a labyrinth. Although this is a common Christian practice around the world, many believers in the West are not familiar with it.
The labyrinth is a path on the ground, usually concentric circles, with a defined entry/exit point and a clearly defined middle. Although it looks like a maze, it is not. Rather, it is a path for walking. In the Middle Ages, labyrinths were used as a way for people to participate in a pilgrimage without the expense or time required to travel to another place, like Jerusalem. Labyrinths were created on the floors of cathedrals to help draw people into prayer and meditation. The idea is to bring our breathing, walking, and entire being in to focus on the Lord.
As I walked toward the center of the labyrinth, I noticed it was in the shape of a cross. I was reminded that likewise, Jesus is the center of my life. Walking in, I tried to focus, letting go of worldly attachments. I tried to lay down my anxieties and cares and focus on hearing from the Lord.
At the center, I stood by the cross to contemplate God’s amazing love for me.
As I walked out of the labyrinth, I was mindful of following Jesus in service to the world. Going in and coming out, I wanted to speed up, and I had to intentionally keep myself from walking faster. I was reminded that hurry is an enemy and that life with Christ is not about getting things done. It is meant to be lived intentionally, even slowly, taking all the time we need to notice and enjoy God’s blessings.
If you’ve never walked a labyrinth, let me invite you to try it. There is one at St. Andrew Presbyterian on Timberlake Road that is open to the public.
Peace be with you!