So… I walked this beautiful grass labyrinth today. It was one of the most holistically refreshing activities I’ve gotten to do on this amazing family holiday so far. All the travels, all the hiking, all the sight-seeing — all the quality time with my beloved family — has certainly been amazing! But this grass labyrinth was like a little mini-holiday for my spirit, my mind, and my emotions.
Labyrinths have been used for many purposes by many cultures on many continents through the millennia. Christians have been using them since the 1st century A.D. as a way to engage in contemplative prayer (which is sort of a fancy way to say “thoughtful and soulful talking with, and listening for, God”).
That’s precisely what this labyrinthine prayer walk was for me today. A time of talking with, and listening for, God. A time of communicating with Him with basically no agenda, and no real time frame. Just a slow, leisurely walk-and-talk with the Lord. And it was so refreshing — spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
Nothing miraculous or spectacular happened. I didn’t see any angels or hand-writing in the sky, or hear an audible voice from heaven or anything like that… It was just peaceful, quiet, slow-time of communicating back-and-forth with my loving, present, heavenly Father.
Well… that is pretty miraculous, actually. I mean, what’s more spectacular than having an audience with the Divine? What is more inexplicable than having the undivided attention of the One and Only, Almighty, Everlasting God? There are 7 billion people on Earth, and here He is, strolling with me through a Scottish glen, talking about flowers and weather and my children and my friend back home whose daughter was just diagnosed with luekemia, and my other friend who is battling an addiction, and how lovely this grass feels between my toes, and my friends who are missionaries in China, and I’m sorry for the way I snapped at Dianna, and oh! that was a delightful breeze just now and I love the sound of the wind through the trees’ leaves, and I feel like I disappoint You sometimes, God, but You lavish Your loving affection upon in so many undeserved ways, and the Scriptures You have flooding my memory right now to confirm that truth, and I’m so glad my thoughts and emotions are safe with You and that Your kindness and graciousness to me cover over the multitude of wrongs I perpetrate against You every day, and oh look, I didn’t even realize I’m near the end, and when did I make those turns back there?, and this labyrinth is really cool — can I have something like this on our land — if we ever own land in the future?, and now I see why so many of Your people have walked labyrinths before as way to connect with You and refresh their souls…
The labyrinth walk is such a neat analogy for the Christian walking with God, too. The difference between a labyrinth and a maze is that a maze is full of dead ends and wrong turns, whereas a labyrinth has only one way to go. When I’m not walking with God and in communication with Him, daily life can feel like a maze — so full of pitfalls and dead ends and wrong turns… But when my day is permeated with communication with God, I experience His leadership and guidance, His grace and nearness, and the way — though filled with twists and turns — can really only flow in one general direction: that is, in the way of a child guided by a perfect Father. Good or bad, up or down, success or failure — God was with you through the day, and you communicated with and sought after Him throughout all of that day’s experiences. Whatever happened, like the labyrinth, you ended up where you needed to be, because you walked with God throughout that up-and-down, side-winding, twisting, turning day.
Speaking very practically, the labyrinth is also perfect for a person like me, because I like to walk or pace whenever I am talking or thinking. And my talking or thinking is usually much more focused, deep, and productive when it is that slow, aimless, detached meandering — which is perfect in a labyrinth, because you cannot make any wrong turns — you just follow your feet through the twists and turns to the end. You don’t have to focus on the direction — you just focus on God. The course of this journey will lead you to the proper end.
I wonder why I have never walked a labyrinth before today? We had one in my home town that was free and open to the public anytime… I just never used it… For my C-town friends, that’s at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church located at 2100 Hilton Avenue. It’s in a lovely shaded glen right in the heart of the city with free parking under lots of beautiful 100-year-old trees. A great place to connect with God, and maybe have a nice picnic lunch with Him during your work day!
This was my first labyrinthine walk-and-talk with God, and it was wonderful. Lord willing, it will not be my last!