A Labyrinth for Lent
This year for the season of Lent we’ve created a ‘labyrinth’ in the garden at the Good Shepherd. Labyrinths are one of the oldest spiritual tools known to humankind, dating back at least 4000 years. Labyrinths are used in Christianity to depict the journey of faith, though their symbolism and meaning transcend religious and non-religious boundaries.
In the Middle Ages it is believed that walking the labyrinth was often used as a form of pilgrimage for those who couldn’t afford the time, or the money, to make the journey to the Holy Land. That makes the labyrinth the perfect tool for ‘stay at home’ pilgrims like us!
The Labyrinth is not a maze and is not intended to trick or confuse you. There is no “right” way to walk the Labyrinth, though typically you start at the entrance, follow the path to the centre, and then follow the same path out. In its simplest form a labyrinth walk is used as a meditation.
People walk the labyrinth for many reasons, including curiosity! Some people begin walking and then discover their reasons along the way. You might choose to walk the labyrinth for prayer, self-reflection, mindfulness meditation, healing and wholeness, processing grief, or even reducing stress. The beauty of this symbol is that it can mean different things to different people, we hope you find it helpful.
How do you walk the labyrinth at the Good Shepherd?
There are four stages to walking the labyrinth:
Before walking the labyrinth, pick up a stone. Jesus said:
‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’
Think about whether there’s anything weighing you down? Or is there a question that’s weighing on your mind?
Carry your stone as you follow the path to the centre of the labyrinth. This is a time to quiet your mind and release your troubles. Be open to whatever thoughts or feelings come up. Take slow breaths. Relax and move at your own pace.
The centre is a place of reflection. Pause and stay as long as you like. Be open to God; listen to that small inner voice. Be honest with yourself. Take time to rest.
As you prepare to retrace your steps, leave your stone at the foot of the cross. As you walk, think about what God is inviting you to do, or be. Be aware of God’s presence with you.