by Carol Brown
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 3/19/2015
This week I had a unique spiritual experience—I walked the labyrinth at Mulberry Methodist Church with a group of Highland Hills friends. To conclude our “Altar in the World” small group study, and as part of our Lenten journeys, our group of twelve women chose to walk and pray our way through the stone labyrinth in downtown Macon.
A labyrinth is a metaphor for life. The stones are laid out in a pattern that forms a path with twists and turns and curves that all lead to the center and back out again. The Christian life is often described as a journey or pilgrimage, with God walking beside us and leading us into closer and closer communion with God. A labyrinth is not a maze to run through or a race with a finish line, it is a journey, designed to be walked slowly and deliberately, allowing time to reflect on the experience.
I’m not naturally a labyrinth-kind-of-person. I like to move quickly and get to my destination in the most efficient manner possible. A labyrinth is not efficient and it’s not fast. Walking the labyrinth this week made me slow down my pace. It allowed me time to enjoy the warm breeze on my face, to feel the raised stones beneath my feet, and to give thanks to God for the precious friends and family God has given me.
Walking a labyrinth takes trust. As I slowly walked along, following the curves and tight turns of the path, I was tempted to look ahead to try to understand where I was going next. But if I allowed my eyes to linger too long on the twists and turns ahead, I would find myself stepping off of the path and losing my way. The only way to walk a labyrinth is to keep your eyes on the path beneath your feet and trust, beyond all logic, that the crooked, crazy path that you are walking will eventually lead you to the center. Isn’t that a metaphor for our lives? I want so badly to look ahead and understand everything that God has planned for my life. I want to know how it is all going to work out. I find it hard to trust that God is walking beside me and that the crooked, crazy path of my life is leading me to the center—right to the heart of God.
When we celebrate Maundy Thursday together, we will have an opportunity to walk a labyrinth in our own courtyard. After sharing communion in the chapel, we will step into the courtyard to move through several prayer stations and a simple, candlelit labyrinth. As you journey through the labyrinth, allow God to walk with you, and trust the crooked, crazy path to lead you to the heart of God.