Is your life more like a maze or a labyrinth?
Life as a maze finds you off the path feeling that success is not assured or that it comes only with luck and struggle. You see many decisions and events as dead ends, time wasted, money lost, opportunities missed.
To live life as a labyrinth, you reevaluate your identity and apply a new context to your life. All paths are part of God’s path where despite your appearances and differences, you all will meet. A maze contains multiple paths and directions; a labyrinth finds us on a single path leading to the center.
A labyrinth is an ancient design used for hundreds of years within the Christian tradition. The church began to create places, like the labyrinth, to represent a spiritual journey. The labyrinth is a walking tool for prayer. It is a way of seeking the presence of God, connecting, opening up to what God will bring to you during the journey. Many cathedrals in Europe designed labyrinths grooved into walls as finger paths or into floor tiles. In the Middle ages, crusades and pilgrimage to the Holy Land added spiritual energy to the church for the wealthy. The farmers, women, and poor also wanted to make pilgrimage. The labyrinth provides a spiritual discipline for us to contemplate our journey.
As you approach the labyrinth walk, consciously slow your breathing and clear your mind. You are beginning an inner walk of the heart. Perhaps you are hoping for a definite experience of God amid the hustle and bustle of life. Perhaps you bring a burden, a hurt, a joy, or seek clarity. The journey may be tearful or joyful. Bring to the center either a gift to God or a surrendering to Him. Stay in the center as long as you wish. You will find God’s peace, love and blessings in your journey in and then back out. Draw close to God, touch him. He will touch you, trusting in the unspoken. Take time at the end to remain in reflection and stillness at the fringes of the Labyrinth. Are you different after the walk? How can I be different in the world with God walking beside me?
I have had the privilege of walking many labyrinths at events and personally in my spiritual journey. Each time I am amazed at what God says to me through the experience. I have dreamed that one day Laurel Ridge Camp would have a labyrinth, which would have been so beneficial to me, particularly during my Gemeinschaft days. Now this dream is fast becoming a reality. Thanks to the staff at Laurel Ridge, Matt Pace from Christ Moravian (who has a heart for this wonderful camp), and the EcoMission 2016 staff and campers, the site has been cleared right out the back door of the old entrance to Higgins Lodge. It is back in the woods in a beautiful serene setting. The labyrinth is now sketched out and in the next months will be completely finished for groups, congregations, individuals, campers, youth groups, and many more to experience. You’ll find books about labyrinth walking, bookmarks, prayers, ideas for reflecting, as well as some very simple directions in Higgins Lodge.
There is a possibility of an experience to put the finishing touches on this project. JOY camp is scheduled as an adult summer camp opportunity for August 1-4, 2016. We will spend the mornings working on landscaping the site to make it more beautiful. In the afternoon, there will be plenty of free time for short day trips around Laurel Ridge area. We will come back together after dinner for some intentional experiences using the labyrinth and close with vespers. If you are interested in giving back to Laurel Ridge, join us for this camp. Register before July 10. We have to have a certain number of people interested for this camp to actually take place.
Take time to enjoy this experience. Use it for your congregational retreats. Ask the BCM staff to coordinate some retreat plans for you to use the labyrinth. Bring your campers and youth groups there. Remember to give thanks for where your walk has brought you.
If you have questions or need additional information, email (bhayesATmcsp.org) or call the Resource Center (336) 722-8126.
Beth Hayes is the Director of Congregational Ministries and Resources, Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM)
Photos: Laurel Ridge, Beth Hayes