adelheid_p: (Ice Dragon)
[personal profile] adelheid_p
On Monday I walked a labyrinth at church on the university campus where I work. One of my coworkers accompanied me, as he had never walked one before. Inside this church on one of the walls surrounding the alter was this quote from Revelation 21 in the Bible:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

I found it especially timely. I wish I could wipe away the tears and the death. Instead, I walked a labyrinth.

I learned, from the sister who welcomed us, that in times of the holy wars, labyrinths were the safe substitute for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Before entering the labyrinth, we were invited to read the following as something to reflect on during our journey:

Prayer for a Labyrinth Walk

O God of many paths, I stand before this labyrinth today, metaphor of my journey to you. In the Western world I have been taught that "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line," and being an impatient person, I am uncomfortable with waiting. I have often modeled my journey to you on the straight line. But you, God of infinite patience, have shown me that there is another path: the curved path.

On this path, my anticipation is heightened as I approach the center, only to be led out again to the periphery. But this path more closely resembles life itself. On this path, if I just put one foot in front of the other, it may seem at times as if I am not approaching my goal, while in fact I am drawing closer all the time.

But you are a God of surprises and mystery, and I don't control the path. The labyrinth is a symbol of my surrender to mystery, trusting, not knowing for certain, that the path which curves in and out again ultimately leads to the Center, which is you.

Written by Jean Sonnenberg
Bon Secours Labyrinth
Marriottsville, MD

The particular labyrinth that was laid out on the floor of the church was the same pattern as the one in the Chartres Cathedral in France. Printed in purple on a giant piece of rubber canvas with tea-light candles in glass holders at the division of the four quadrants. The sister had a CD of chant/sung hymns playing to help set the meditative mood. We were asked to remove our shoes or use booties to cover them when walking the labyrinth to keep it clean. I removed my shoes.

I started out the walk very sad, reflecting on the events of the previous week and trying to empathize with those who had lost loved ones. As the journey progressed, my mind wandered on to other concerns but my spirits slowly lifted.

My coworker started several paces behind me and we still had to make some adjustments when passing each other. I also noticed that the path was a bit too narrow for his normal pace and he kept having to adjust his balance. After we were both done, the sister offered us some cookies to take home and we both signed the guest book. We left the church and talked briefly about the experience and I mentioned the other labyrinths I've walked in the area and that I find the journey portion of the experience is the most important to me.
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December 2012

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