Thursday, September 28, 2006

Walking the Danville Labyrinth in Prayer


I'm taking part in a Wednesday night small group discussion at church titled "Worship Alive." Among the topics we've discussed is the ancient practice of walking a labyrinth.

In this practice, the walker enters the path to the center of the labyrinth, walking slowly and in a prayerful manner, and makes his-or-her way along the path. At the center, the walker must turn around and walk the same path back out. (The labyrinth is not a maze--no dead ends here, just one way in and back out again!)

The most famous labyrinth is set into the floor of Chartre Cathedral in France. Flying to France would be quite a trip for me, but I recently discovered that a labyrinth has been built in a park at Danville, Kentucky, near the campus of Centre College. This is a Chartre-style labyrinth, and is (as you can see) in the open air.

There are two links for this topic: http://www.elmwoodinn.com/labyrinth.html and http://www.labyrinthsociety.org/assets/flash/labyrinth.html. This last link takes you to a virtual labyrinth.

The act of movement in prayer helps to concentrate the mind. And the twisting path of the Chartre Labyrinth suggests certain themes for meditation. One thinks, or example, of the four seasons of the year, of the turns and twists in a normal life, and of the search for peace at the center. A cross divides it into four quadrants, which are interconnected.

I'm told prayer inside a labyrinth can be very deep and meaningful.

Thoughts? Comments?

Best wishes,
Mason Smith

1 Comments:

Blogger Andrew Harnack said...

Mason,
We returned to Kentucky last eveing. Thanks so very much for letting us know about the labyrinth in Danville. I'll be in Kentucky for a few weeks now; perhaps June and I can drive over to the labyrinth for a quick day trip. Once again, thanks!

Friday, 29 September, 2006  

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