Labyrinth of Life
By Kerry Richards of Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. —1 Corinthians 12:12–14, 26–27 NRSV
Many of us have walked labyrinths in our spiritual formation. Recently, with 15 others, I journeyed on a labyrinth in the Temple in Independence, Missouri. One of our companions shared that this was his first time and his initial impression was, “These rows of winding pathways do not make sense. How can this be a meaningful spiritual practice? How can this simple exercise be more than a physical walk and be anything but boring?” But, upon completing the journey in perhaps 30 minutes, he said it was one of the most powerful spiritual encounters of his life.
My previous labyrinth walks were solo journeys, going inward in my prayerful moments as I traversed the winding paths. Walking with many others, the experience became an interactive encounter with the Divine and with those on the trek alongside me. The way into the center is a time of release, of emptying, of becoming vulnerable to the Spirit. Arriving at the center, I was expectant of receiving, listening, discerning. On the pathway leaving the center, I sensed a sending forth, a knowing direction for living my life in ministry. All of these transforming encounters were rich. The moments spent within were sacred and sacramental.
The presence of others on this pilgrimage became a blessing. As each person approached me on adjacent paths, we “felt” in very real ways (through affirming words, deep communion within a gaze, hand touches, and embraces) shared meaning that transcended usual fellowship. We experienced peace. Joy bubbled up from within and the journey felt like “home.” Every person was attuned to the Spirit in new ways. We were transformed and sent forth with passion to be a witness of this grace, invited to know personal encounter with the Holy.
As a church we are so blessed to have recent prophetic reaffirmation of spiritual formation as our foundational journey to “be” in preparation to “do.” We are incomplete disciples without daily encounter with our compassionate Creator. I urge you not to miss this reality in your life. I invite you to reach out in soul-emptying vulnerability that opens you to “presence, peace, and passion.” We can shed the illusions of our culture and become individually transformed into a prophetic people of blessing. Trust that our individual calling is not an illusion, that our movement born out of anguished prayer is the model for every one of us. Let us present ourselves in utmost humility to God who waits upon us and breaches the barrier of illusion. Trust in the words, “Be still and know that I am God.”
God is with us.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Ordinary time is a season for awakening to God’s presence in all the details and circumstances of our everyday, ordinary lives. Wherever you are, pay attention to your surroundings. Allow yourself to be fully present for a time with whatever is before you. Where do you sense God with you right now exactly where you are?
How does today’s story invite you to discover God in the realities of your everyday life?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.