Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Into The Labyrinth

Leading up to Easter our church does a worship labyrinth. I decided I would be a part of it this year. I've always wanted to do it, but never been able to before. Here's the description of it from the church:

Open your eyes, ears and hearts to an encounter with God. Experience the
Village Worship Labyrinth, an awesome devotional experience that
will help you draw closer to Him. The Worship Labyrinth is a
personal journey with eight stations where you can stop and spend
time with the Lord. This multi-sensory experience will give you time to let
go of the busyness, hurts and distractions that can spoil your relationship
with God.

I have to admit I was a little afraid. The last time I went into a labyrinth was in Oakhurst, California, and it was for a Halloween event. There were big walls built out of black garbage bags hanging on pvc pipe. I had made it most of the way through with minimal frights, but then this one vampire had a cape made out of black garbage bags. He was standing in a corner with his back to us, and when he turned around my stomach tried to crawl out my mouth. Luckily all the screaming got out first, so I had time to fix that.

The only other association I have with Labyrinth (until yesterday) was the strange Jim Henson movie from 1986. So I was a little concerned that I might run into something like this in the maze:

Anyway, those were the thoughts I had going in. Oh, also, when Yoda sends Luke Skywalker into that tree that is strong in the dark side of the Force and he tells him that he won't need his lightsaber. Then Darth Vader comes out of the shadows and attacks him. Creepy.

So, I got to Village for my scheduled appointment for the Labyrinth, and our worship pastor, Dean, was there giving people the talk to prepare them for their experience. He calmed my fears. Since I didn't have a lightsaber, I left my cell phone, wallet and house keys in the truck and my shoes outside the labyrinth.

The labyrinth was set up in the main sanctuary... Dean and his minions had removed all the pews and replaced it with the outline of a labyrinth, with eight different stops along the way.

The way in was all about preparing yourself to meet with and hear from God. I felt Christ beside me the whole way, inviting me to come to the center to meet with him. I put the hood of my sweatshirt up because I am too easily distracted, which made me feel a little bit like a monk.

At the center of the labyrinth stood a table with bread and juice for communion. I sat there and prayed for a long time, and I experienced his presence in a powerful way. I spoke clearly with him, and heard clear responses from him. He prayed a blessing over me. I didn't want to leave, but he told me that I couldn't just stay there in the center of the labyrinth, that the personal transformations we experience at his feet can and must cause transformation in the people and society around us. And the second half of the labyrinth helped drive those points home.

I wish I could write out the precise conversation I had with Christ in the labyrinth, and some of the details of that hour, but I'm not sure this blog is an appropriate place, where I can make it clearly understood without making it seem like some strange, outsized thing. I will settle for saying that this was certainly a moment in my, life where I experienced Christ's presence, one of those moments I could point to and say, "Of course Christ is real, of course he is an actual person."

Inevitably I am disappointed with the way this translates into words. This hour was a deeply profound one for me, and to try to explain it requires a courage I lack, I think. I will have to think more about it and see if I can find the right way to express it.

Anyway, a deep and profound thanks to the pastors, staff and volunteers at Village, who set aside the space and time to let me meet with Christ yesterday. Your spiritual leadership and service is much appreciated.


  1. Anonymous5:19 PM

    Labyrinth is one of the greatest movies of all time. Who doesn' love David Bowie?!?!

  2. I love him I just never want to meet him or be in the same room with him. Because he is creepy. Also he will start to sing and then walk around on the ceiling upside down.

  3. Maybe its too soon to express what happened. Like Dr. Bright's vision, sometime the public sharing of it happens later. Those moments of revelation need time to work in the soul. Sometimes in sharing it too soon, they begin to lose their transforming power. Just a thought as you figure this out.

  4. Anonymous10:28 PM

    I've seen a documentary on tv several years ago about something similar to this, except it was buddhist or something. Monks would walk into a labyrinth, criss-crossing back and forth until they reached the center, praying and meditating as they went in, and reflecting on the the way out.
    Anyways I remember thinking, "oh, weird". But the way you describe it made me think of a kind of "prayer journey". What a great way to meet with God.

  5. Bernard of Clairvaux understood.
    "“After the Bridegroom has gazed on the soul with kindness and mercy, his voice softly whispers the divine will. His voice is love itself, and love never rests but is continually urging the heart to do God’s bidding. The spouse also hears the call to rise up in haste and take up the work of saving souls. The nature of true, pure contemplation is such that, while kindling the heart with divine love, it sometimes fills it with great zeal to win other souls for God. The heart gladly gives up the quiet of contemplation for the work of preaching. “