Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Of Mazes and Labyrinths

During Lent I am introducing the congregations to various spiritual practices in my sermons.  Two weeks ago I introduced Lectio Divina—Holy Reading and last Sunday I introduced a form of walking prayer—the Labyrinth.  My sermon, which is attached, noted the difference between a labyrinth and a maze.  The labyrinth has a path that, if followed, will lead to the centre albeit by a rather circuitous route.  However the maze has options, some of which are dead ends.  You have to turn around and go back. 

The labyrinth is now a well-established method of spiritual practice in our modern western culture.  It is a good representation of the non-linear nature of the spiritual journey.  Sometimes it seems that you are getting near the centre and making progress on your spiritual journey but you will be guided away from you destination.  However, if you continue to follow the path that God has prepared for you, you will reach the ultimate goal. 

Unlike the labyrinth the maze is not a spiritual practice. However, I believe that the maze is also a good representation of the spiritual journey.  In some ways it is more realistic of the journey that many, if not most people follow in the spiritual, religious and psychological lives.  We often take the wrong path when given a choice and find ourselves in what seems to be a dead end.  We make choices that separate us from God and have to turn around and go another way which will hopefully be on the path that God intends for us.  This is the best definition I know of sin and repentance—to turn around and go another way when we miss the mark.

As I note in my sermon I hope that if you have a chance to walk a labyrinth or a maze you will take the opportunity.  I have attached a diagram of a classic 11 course labyrinth for those who are not familiar with the labyrinths.  Blessings  

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