Why Do You Walk Labyrinths? [Devotional]

A devotional for this week by Martha Whitney, Immanuel member:

Why do you walk labyrinths?, my friend asked, as we completed the many circuits of an outdoor 612701980_c9153b5dce_blabyrinth. I have many answers: because I like to walk them; because they leave me with a feeling of peace; because they impose a slower, more meditative rhythm in my day. Walking labyrinths is an ancient spiritual discipline. We have a labyrinth outside Immanuel’s sanctuary, a project of our own Robbie Hefferon.  A very large labyrinth is implanted in the green space of the Potomac riverside park, near Key Bridge, just beyond the overpassing Whitehurst Freeway. The National Cathedral offers a cloth indoor labyrinth one evening a month.

Why not take time to walk a labyrinth? There is no wrong way. As opposed to mazes, whose purpose is to mislead into blind alleys and to confuse, a labyrinth always leads to the center and back out. An enlarged space in the center invites walkers to stand or sit for a bit, absorbing what is going on, reflecting on thoughts that emerge, or just resting in peace. The return is a reversal of the inward path.

I offer my practice, if anyone is looking for a way to start. Some remove their shoes; others not. On the inward progress, at each turn in the pattern I offer a prayer of petition, asking for something. On the return, at each turn I offer one of thanks.

“Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

A prayer for today: O God, guide our steps as we walk this road together. Amen. 



Featured photo by Peter Merholz. License available here.