Labyrinth

We put on serveral indoor labyrinth walks a year -often during Holy Week and Advent. The dates for those events will be in our monthly newsletter which can be found on our website under Events/Newsletter.  Surrounding the labyrinth are themed prayer stations for pray-ers to visit and do the short reflection and activity at each one. Information about dates and times of our labyrinth walks will be on this website, at this "Labyrinth" page, or on our home page. Our Redeemer's labyrinth is 34 feet across and constructed of heavy, white canvas painted with purple designs. The labyrinth is available for churches to borrow. Our Redeemer's labyrinth is shown below during two prayer walks at different sites.  

    Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles

What is a labyrinth?  Although the presence of the labyrinth in Christian churches may be new today, it is a sacred symbol that can be traced back 3,000 years to ancient Greece and many other ancient cultures as well. In the Middle Ages, the labyrinth was given a Christian meaning. Labyrinth designs can be found on the stone floors of many medieval cathedrals. For medieval pilgrims, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the place of Christ’s death and resurrection, was the holy destination. Most faithful Christians could not travel to Jerusalem, so pilgrims walked labyrinths as a symbolic journey to Jerusalem. Labyrinths were designed in many forms, the earliest being in linear patterns. By the ninth century, however, a more circuitous design appeared, making the path less obvious and more representative of our own journeys.

How is the labyrinth a spiritual tool?
Our lives are a journey, a sacred journey, where we encounter joy, sorrow, growth, defeat, grief, celebration, and all the other experiences that challenge and transform our understanding of life. Symbolic of this journey, the labyrinth functions as a meditation tool, a prayer tool, to help us focus and encounter the presence of the sacred Divine in our changing lives. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has no dead ends, and there are no tricks or puzzles to solve. The path in is the path out, and as such represents the wholeness of our lives. Therefore, walking the labyrinth is not a left-brain task, but an invitation to use our right brain and the gifts of creativity, imagination, and receptiveness.

How do I walk the labyrinth?
There is no ‘correct’ way to walk the labyrinth. It can be walked slowly, it can be danced; some have entered on their knees. As you become more comfortable with this prayer tool, you may find yourself experimenting with different approaches. Free yourself of expectations, and surrender yourself to the movement of the Holy Spirit as you walk and pray.  

    St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Tustin

Ways to walk the Labyrinth:

Walk for Inward Peace – Before entering the labyrinth, recognize relationships or situations that are disturbing your sense of wellness. As you walk, be very aware of your body and breathing. On the way to the center, imagine each exhaled breath taking away the stress of your situation. At the center, open your heart and mind to receive what is offered. Leaving the labyrinth, imagine each inhaled breath is giving strength and courage to change what you can and let go of the rest.

Enter with a Question – Identify what the questions are in your life or where your attention is focused at the moment: new job, marriage, grief, parenthood, need for a new direction, troubled relationships, etc. Walk the labyrinth seeking new insights and guidance. Ask God for help; then listen.

A Prayer Walk –
Use the labyrinth to pray for someone or to give thanks to God. Pray using a simple, short prayer or favorite Scripture verse or line from a hymn. Examples for you to try:
The Lord is my Shepherd.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.
Gracious God, heal my spirit.
God of grace, God of glory, fill me with your presence.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with (name).
I come with joy to meet my Lord.

Looking in the Mirror –
While walking the labyrinth with others, try to perceive a part of yourself in each person. Open your heart to all those around you. Within yourself, say: “I love you” to each person you encounter during your labyrinth walk. Pray for the well-being of each person. Open your heart to yourself. Pray for yourself. Be gentle with yourself and others.