At Capital I assumed it was a strange maze, in Seattle I simply overlooked it. It wasn't until I went to Bethany's Day of Prayer during lent that someone spoke of a labyrinth's use for insight, peace and renewal. The Labyrinth is an ancient symbol and tool for prayer and meditation. I've lived with labyrinths in my neighborhood for years, but had never tried praying in one... until today.
I figured on this day, National Day of Prayer, it was worth a chance. After all, St. Paul's Episcopal Church has one just minutes from our apartment. This particular labyrinth was modeled after the medieval labyrinth in Chartres Garden, France. It is the first publicly-accessible permanent outdoor labyrinth within Seattle city limits.
The church provided these 'instructions':
- Entering the labyrinth: A time to release and let go of distraction, perhaps focusing on a special intention or prayer for the walk.
- Reaching the center: A time for openness to the diving Spirit, allowing guidance and inspiration.
- Going back: A time to retrace steps and return to the world, embracing the Spirit that heals and transforms. With each repetition of the walk, you are being strengthened for growth and change.
I should note that St. Paul's is not located on the corner of a quiet intersection and I was praying in the middle of rush hour. Nonetheless, the meditation of weaving in and out of the path, turning and retracing my steps did help me to focus.
When I reached the center I began to hum the lyrics to a popular worship song we used to sing at Fellowship for Christian Athletes at Thomas: "God, you are my God, and I will ever praise you. I will follow you all of my days, I will follow you all of my days. And step by step you lead me and I will follow you all of my days." What a gift!
Have you ever prayed in a labyrinth?