If you have ever taken a walk with an old friend and just chatted, you know how the labyrinth can feel.
The Labyrinth is NOT a maze. You will never get lost or have to back out of a dead end. When you were a kid, maybe you were lucky enough to walk at the county fair or in a department store at Christmas time holding on to a grownup’s hand. You didn’t have to navigate. You trusted your grownup to guide you, and that set you free to notice everything. A labyrinth is like that. You can walk with God and not get lost.
There are three parts to a labyrinth prayer. The way in, time in the center, and the way out. Like the Trinity, the parts are distinct, but hard it’s to separate where one begins and another ends. Calm your body and mind before you enter. Sing a hymn, recite a verse or just tell God what’s going on in your life on the way in. In the center pause and listen. On the way out give thanks or ponder what you have experienced.
The labyrinth has been a part of Christian prayer life for a very long time. The earliest known Christian labyrinth dates from the 4th century Basilica of St. Reparatus in Algeria. The most famous medieval labyrinth is in Chartres Cathedral in France. There are writings of French clerics performing a dance along the path on Easter Sunday. Doesn’t that make you smile just to think about it?