May 12, 2021
There’s a labyrinth on canvass spread out on the floor of our Faith United sanctuary. It’s been there for a little over a year now. We borrowed it from our Region to use during Lent 2020 (back in the before-times) and we haven’t had an opportunity to return it. So there it lays. I love walking a labyrinth. It’s one of my favourite spiritual practices. I love it because its symbolism of representing the spiritual journey with twists and turns but always leading to the heart of God is so true to my own journey. You can’t get lost in a labyrinth. It’s not a maze. There are no wrong turns – but there are many unexpected twists. I find the movement and flow to be very prayerful.
Last spring and summer I used to walk it a lot. Then in the fall a few times. But I don’t think I’ve walked it in 2021 – until this last Sunday. There it was, in full view every week – and it’s pretty darn big so you can’t not see it – and every week I’d walk right by it. The truth is I just wasn’t feeling it. That kind of thing happens in long, stressful, and disorienting times like pandemics. Some of the things that used to really click don’t seem to click anymore. Some of the things that used to light you up may be feeling more than a bit dim.
You may have heard the expression “we’re not ok” referring to people’s general mental health these Covid days. It’s true about our spiritual health too. We’re not ok. We’re all feeling it in various degrees, but nobody is unaffected. It doesn’t mean there aren’t significant times of great joy and peace in the midst of this season; it just means that the times are influencing us in a more profound manner than they usually do.
So what shall we do? I decided to walk the labyrinth. Well, more honestly I should say that the labyrinth called to me. When I walked into church last Sunday morning and saw the labyrinth there I just had this overwhelming desire to kick off my shoes and walk and pray. I confess that I was thinking about it all through worship. I couldn’t wait for worship to end, for everyone to go so I could be alone, and to walk and pray. And it was glorious. I lit the candle at the centre, I put on music, I turned out the lights, and I walked and prayed the labyrinth. Three times.
I’m not ‘fixed’ now. I’m not suddenly ok when before maybe I wasn’t. But I do take it as a sign. The thing I needed in that moment was something that was already right there. I didn’t have to go far and wide to find it, or to be super-creative and discover something fresh and new. I just had to be ready to listen. And I guess I was. Maybe the spiritual practice that will help you today is one that you already know well but have let go in the last while? Maybe it’s time to pick it back up? Maybe that little nudge you’re feeling is trying to tell you something great? Something your spirit really needs. My answer (for today) probably won’t be your answer. But I believe the Spirit is calling. And I believe we will pray our way through all this – in whatever form prayer takes for each of us. And I believe we’re going to be ok. I hope you find your own way to walk and pray through these days.