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Perspectives on Labyrinths, Prayer and Finding Peace

Perspectives on Labyrinths, Prayer and Finding Peace  1024 × 681Images may be subject to copyright Chartres Labyrinth | Steve Snodgrass Flickr
Finding God's Peace
On Being On Healing Places
Listen to Esther Sternberg's interview on Healing Places. "The Science of Healing Places" The light and smells in places like hospitals can often depress us. And, our favorite room at home keeps us sane. But why? Immunologist Esther Sternberg explains the scientific research revealing how physical spaces create stress and make us sick — and how good design can trigger our "brain’s internal pharmacies" and help heal us. [Listen here].
Prayer and Playing Ball in Church
"Prayer is a very important part of the experience of a sanctuary. One of the great tools for deep meditative prayer is walking a labyrinth. On this sabbatical, I walked a lilac scented labyrinth in Wisconsin and then New Harmony’s marble paved labyrinth wet and slippery from rain. The St. Mary’s labyrinth is green with plantings, and at one point the walker must circumvent a tree. Ghost Ranch’s labyrinth is made of gravel and stone. Here I am walking the labyrinth outside Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where the labyrinth was first reclaimed as a spiritual tool. The use of labyrinths is very ancient. Similar patterns based on the spiral found in nature have been found in many cultures dating back to 4000 BC." [Read more].
Starting back in the 12th century, labyrinths like this became part of the design of cathedrals in northern France and in Italy. Their purpose is somewhat mysterious, though it’s usually assumed to be allegorical in some way. Following the path of the labyrinth might have symbolically recreated a pilgrimage, or perhaps the symbol represented Christ’s trip through Hell between his crucifixion and resurrection. Sometimes the labyrinths were decorated with images of the Minotaur, from the ancient Greek myth involving the hero Theseus, repurposed to symbolize Christ’s journey.
Thanks to a 14th-century document, though, we know that at least one cathedral labyrinth had another purpose, just once a year—it was used as a ball court on Easter Monday. [Read More about this ritual] 
Reflections on Labyrinth in Chartres
Rev. Andrea L. Leininger, Pastor, Bethel United Methodist Church, Indianapolis, Indiana on Labyrinths: "As I wrote a daily letter to God on my renewal blog site:
ajourneywithgod.blogspot.com outlining my spiritual insights and illuminations, interested church participants read along and joined in a weekly Journey with God class led by two lay women in the congregation. The class shared their own inspirations with each other and engaged in similar activities. For example, as I walked the labyrinth in Chartres, France, they set up and walked a temporary labyrinth in our Upper Room and later shared their own reflections in class. While I served as a volunteer chaplain in a bush hospital in West Africa, the class watched a video on the AIDs mission work in Africa and then took up an offering to help in the effort. [Read more].
Labyrinths and World Wide Web
Comparing a Labyrinth to the World Wide Web, Scott Thumma, Hartford Institute for Religion Research said, "Around aLabyrinthd I walk, getting nowhere and everywhere. A journey that takes me from beginning to end.  Both starting and ending point are the same, and yet not the same. For in the walking I am changed. This journey takes me to unknown places, bumping shoulders with strangers, letting go of distractive passions, fearing the dizzying darkness, struggling with the spiraling boundaries set ages ago, and reaching the Center - "illumination" - only to be forced to turn and retrace my steps.  I turn and begin again, knowing well that I will experience anew the fears and exhilarations this walk holds. 
For those who haven't walked a labyrinth, the exercise may seem silly.  This was my perspective, I confess until I walked its concentric circles. Like all spiritual disciplines, you cannot understand their power until you perform the exercises.   You always finish somewhat transformed.  You see things differently. Your perspective is expanded. You learn something new about yourself, others, and God.
At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, exploring sites on the World Wide Web, especially religious ones, can have a similar spiritual effect. It can be seen as more than just a silly spiral of computers, cables, and hyperlinks." [Read More]
Create Your Own Community Labyrinth




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