Learning from the Christ Church Labyrinth

As I mentioned before, I have been walking the Christ Church labyrinth during Lent.  Today I wanted to share with you some things I was learning from the labyrinth.  I walk the labyrinth three times a week on my days off.  I thought I might get tired of it, but I have actually enjoyed it more.  I look forward to my time in the labyrinth and wonder what God is going to say to me each day.

I generally pause at the entrance to the labyrinth and ask God, “What do you want to tell me today?”  At that point, if a song has come into my mind, I pull it up on my iPhone and listen to it as I walk into the labyrinth.  I really connect with God through music and feel that God can speak clearly to me through the words of songs.  The songs that come up are part of the learning.  I’ve listened to “Change my heart, O God,” “Come into my heart, Lord Jesus,” “Open Our Eyes, Lord, We Want to See Jesus, ”  “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” “Step by Step,” “I’ll Walk With God,” “Open My Eyes That I May See,” and “I Will Cast All My Cares Upon You.”

Sometimes I turn off the song and sing it myself.  Or I might want to focus on a part of the song so I turn it off and just repeat one line.  Singing “Change my heart, O God, make it ever true” made me think of true north and using a compass.  That led me to pray that God would keep me turned toward him and help me to find my way when I have lost the proper direction or orientation.  If the words of the song are plural, such as “Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus,” then I change them so they are singular and more personal.  “Open my eyes, Lord.  I want to see you, Jesus.”

In additional I often pray for those on my heart as I walk into the labyrinth.  Walking the labyrinth slowly gives me time to bring each person on my prayer list into my mind and hold them before God.  Sometimes I start praying for a person so intently I have to stop walking.  Otherwise I might not notice when I need to turn.

Once I reach the middle of the labyrinth I pause.  I will be changing directions and I want to be sure I am finished.  If I was interceding for others on my way in, I want to offer them up to God in the center.  I know that God loves these people who are precious to me more than I ever can.  God wants the very best for them and I have to give up what I might think that would be.

If I have been singing something, I stop and ask God to open my heart to his words instead of the words of the song.  A couple of weeks ago, God gave me some instructions when I came to the center of the labyrinth.  “Breathe deeply.  See clearly.  Know my peace.”  So now, before I turn to begin the journey out of the labyrinth, I try to follow those instructions.

The labyrinth of tree branches above echoes the labyrinth that I walk

As I move along the labyrinth on the outward journey, I try to give my day to God.  I ask, “What do you want me to do today?”  Sometimes God puts a person in mind that I need to call or to whom I need to send a card.  Sometimes I think of something kind I can do for a coworker or Tom.  I try to give each task to God so that it can be blessed, even if it is something mundane like grocery shopping or cleaning the bathroom.

A learning often comes to me as I wander along the labyrinth toward the exit.  One day I noticed that the branches of the trees overhead form their own labyrinth.  One day I got lost on my way out of the labyrinth.  God reminded me that I can pay attention to the twists and turns and still lose my way.  When I ended up in the center for the second time I knew that God was letting me start over, as he does every morning.  Sometimes I have to pause in my walk to admire the view.  I am in a beautiful place and I need to pay attention.

The entrance – and exit – to the labyrinth

When I reach the exit, I thank God for the time and for my learning.  I ask God to continue to be with me and guide my steps through the day.  This morning I heard these lines in my head, “You are my light.  From day to day you guide my way.  I do not fear when darkness nears because you are my light.”

I will miss this time in the labyrinth when I go back to Ohio.  I will need to find other ways to pay attention to God every morning.

Thank you, God, for this time of quietness and learning.  Help me, every day, to breathe deeply, see clearly, and know your peace.  May I walk every step knowing that you are the center of my life.  You are my light.  Amen.