As I have mentioned recently I have just begun a new call. I am serving a wonderful congregation right outside of Harrisburg. One of the many things I love about this church is how intentional they were when they moved from their historic church building into a new building. One of the things they felt passionate about was having a church and grounds that fulfilled many needs.
One of those needs is spiritual direction. On the grounds of the church is a beautiful labyrinth. If you are unfamiliar with the term a very brief explanation is a focused walking path of prayer. At first glimpse it looks like a maze, with lines that go in a circle and appear to dead end. When in reality it is a single path that takes you around twists and turns as you head towards the center, and then you follow the same pathway out.
It is a truly marvelous tool, one in which you walk, perhaps with a question or a prayer and as you twist and turn the rhythm you begin to take, leads you away from your own thoughts and allows for God to enter in a way that took me by surprise the first time I walked a labyrinth close to 20 years ago.
One of the ways I use a labyrinth is by first sitting down, praying, and sometimes journaling to try and get some of the clutter out of my mind. And then after a little while of centering myself I begin my journey, on the way to the center. I try and keep my hands open but facing down in a physical expression of opening myself and letting my concerns or prayers out. Once I reach the center I pause, perhaps sit and experience a moment of pure spiritual solitude, sitting alone with God in the middle of a journey. On the way out, I walk with my hands open and facing up, to receive. I simply walk and pray while listening and accepting, and allowing the Spirit to move within me. When I finish my walk, I again sit and pray and reflect and journal.
I love this practice, and you don’t need to have a beautiful walking labyrinth at your disposal, but can Google a finger labyrinth, one you can trace with your finger in the same way you would walk one. Or simply find a trail or a path somewhere, and use the time for a concentrated spiritual prayer walk.It is amazing how different our prayers can be when we relocate where we are praying them. I know as we draw closer to the cross, closer to Holy Week I will be spending some time walking, praying, and reflecting. I will be thinking about the path Christ walked for me and for you, I hope you will too.