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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Garden Pilgrimage--the Labyrinth

"Some problems can be solved by walking." St. Augustine

Today I invite you to come with me for a virtual prayer walk. The picture shows a prayer labyrinth, which is technically speaking just a circular pattern laid out with a winding course to a center resting point. Appearing like a maze, it is actually a well-defined path leading to that center where the pilgrim rests and then returns by the same path to places outside.

"The labyrinth is a metaphor for life. The Christian life is often described as a pilgrimage of the faithful who are in but not of the world. We progress down a path that's laid out by God-even though we rarely foresee its twists and turns-toward the eventual goal of unity with Christ." The Sacred Way, Tony Jones

The retreat center where I went this past Friday is in its autumn beauty. We' took a garden pilgrimage there before--in fact, the first garden pilgrimage we made with this blog--when spring had full flush on its cheek; but the change of season made it a completely different place. Now it is a garden whose beauty unashamedly wears signs of a death that haunts so near, a place whose beauty is displayed more by the kiss of light and dark on its face than by any rosy naive blush. This is where I invite you to walk a virtual prayer labyrinth with me.

I'll quote my retreat leaders, Jan and Brian Daily, in leading you through. "Basically, there are four aspects that comprise the journey of the labyrinth. The Threshold allows you to center your thoughts on God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit."

Pause here, and experience the Threshold.

"The Journey In opens up the space to explore our relationship with God and where He wants to take us."

Make the Journey In.

"The Resting Place is the center, representing the heart of God."

Rest in the center and explore the heart of God.

Find the hidden well-springs and refresh yourself there.

"The Journey Out provides time for thought toward what this experience has taught us about the heart of God and what we want to share with the world."

Make the Journey Out.

"There is no right way to pray a labyrinth. The simple act of setting one foot in front of the other. (or one image after the other) allows the mind the freedom to truly rest in God's presence. All that is necessary is an openness to God and His leading, and a heart that is willing to hear and accept what the Father has to say."

O God of Peace,

You have taught us not to be anxious in our living.

Release us from feeling frenzied about our commitments.

Free us from the burden of our many fears, so that we may place our whole trust in your wise care and be at peace in the sure knowledge of your love.

We offer our anxious hearts to you for the healing of faith. Through Christ, our living Lord. Amen. --Marjorie J. Thompson

Blessed prayer walk!

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