Members of Saint Andrew’s painted a portable labyrinth on a large piece of canvas which fills our sanctuary floor space. It is a valuable spiritual resource. As an individual walks the labyrinth, they participate in a spiritual journey of contemplation and renewal.
The labyrinth is an ancient spiritual tool, thousands of years old, walked by millions of people of all cultures and traditions. It is becoming more well known and practiced within the bounds of The Episcopal Church.
Amma Susan relates the confusion often experienced by those unfamiliar with the purpose of the labyrinth. She notes, “When I was headed to CREDO (a clergy conference) and discovered the beautiful labyrinths installed both inside the chapel and outside on the grounds of Duncan Conference Center (FL), I excitedly told my parents that I was eager to walk it while there. My mom asked me, ‘why on earth would you want to get lost in a maze?’ I explained the difference, that unlike a maze, it has no wrong turns or dead ends. It is a walking prayer or meditation with only one path to the center and a route leads you back out into the world again. Rather than a vehicle for getting lost, it is a practice to find oneself, to locate one’s center in God.”
It’s a chance to slow one’s pace down. The labyrinth thwarts any attempt to fit “God’s time” into “our time.” Thus it was that although Amma Susan attempted to walk the labyrinth during that compressed schedule at CREDO, she was only halfway through before needing to be elsewhere. What should she do?? Her response? “I could have rushed through it but chose to come back to the center later that day to find my way out again. And I want to keep coming back to the center, again and again, every day because God is my center.”
This is the beauty of a spiritual practice such as the labyrinth. Insights abound for one who approaches the center. And the Spirit’s grace frequently challenges rationality.