Devotions from Conversations Magazine based on Christian George’s article
I wanted to write about the labyrinth as it is now warm enough to walk the one my cousin has just down the road. There is also one in a Lutheran church in Prior Lake right in the floor of the church. Labyrinth walking is also known as prayer in motion. It is a physical discipline that reflects the spiritual desire to get at the heart of God. It is not like a maze that has dead ends and turnarounds, but it is a continuous path leading into and away from the center. The earliest known Christian one was found in Algeria around A.D. 325 but they belonged to every major civilization in history. We walk labyrinths to experience God in a physical and spiritual way. Some people recite a prayer as they walk, some listen to music, and others remain quiet. Three stages for labyrinth walking are mentioned: purgation, illumination, and communion. Purgation is a stage of surrender— We give up our worries, frustrations, fears doubts etc. At each turn in the path, we lay down our individual sins and burdens before God. In illumination stage we may center our thoughts on scripture or an attribute of God and ask God to expand our understanding of it and increase our awareness. Each step is like a miniature meditation and when we get to the center many remain there for a while. The center of the labyrinth is where the doing of prayer becomes a being of prayer, much like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. Communion is the final stage and as we begin our journey out of the labyrinth we tune our hearts to worship. We praise God for who He is and acknowledge that we are not the center of the universe, He is! When we leave the labyrinth we ask God to prepare us to reengage with the world and live out the gospel. Labyrinth walking is “a discipline for the sole and the soul’, and we can be confident that He who went on before us on the journey is traveling behind us and beside us as He draws us to Himself.