Friday, July 04, 2014

Labyrinth of the Dancing Christ

This morning, I visited the Labyrinth of the Dancing Christ at the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM.  I've been wanting to visit for a few months to start off my yearlong project that I am planning.  While I will write more of the experience at another time, I want to share one train of thought I had while there.

When my husband and I arrived, there was nobody around.  It almost felt as though we were trespassing even though the place was open at the time.  It was still, peaceful, relaxing, quiet, yet with sounds of rooster and other birds nearby.  I felt uneasy; I was expecting to talk to an employee and have him or her give me a brochure or tell me exactly what I was supposed to do in the labyrinth.  I didn't want to do it wrong.  But there was no human being for guidance.  We discussed who would go first and I asked my husband if he wanted to go first and he said no, you can if you want.  With trepidation, I stepped into the labyrinth.  The first few steps I worried: was I walking too fast or too slow?  Was I thinking the right thoughts?  Was I supposed to be praying something specific?  As I walked, I calmed down some and decided to just have the experience of doing it, whatever that experience would bring.

I had known the labyrinth was circular, and had assumed it would be more of a spiral than the way it actually meandered back and forth.  Sometimes, although I was headed in the direction of the center, I was actually further away along the radius.  I would then get closer, and further away--like a dance.  

Too often, we think of faith or our relationship with God as linear.  We think of our life path as linear and Jesus as the way of keeping us on the straight and narrow correct path directly to God or Heaven.  

But it isn't.

If we imagine ourselves in the labyrinth, all journeying together in this faith in Jesus, we are not all in the same exact location, even though we are heading in the same direction.  Sometimes we may appear further away than we are, sometimes we draw closer and then further away.  We can look around the labyrinth and see others on the journey with us, but cannot pinpoint their exact location from God.  

It would do us well to remember this every time we have a disagreement with others in how faith is practiced by each person or group of people.  

We need to remember that God is our guidance.  Just as there was no human to direct me into and around the labyrinth and I had to take that first step in faith, so we should remember that it is God that guides our faith walk too.  We rely too heavily on other humans: pastors, authors, bloggers, to show us their way of believing and acting instead of actually trusting God to guide us each on our own personal journeys.  We travel both individually and together, walking, dancing, in the labyrinth of faith. 


Stephanie Spencer said...

I have never done a prayer labyrinth, but most people I know who have done one talk about how it is a powerful exercise in trust. To know that eventually you will get to the middle, even if you feel like it won't.

Glad you did this- and wrote about it!

Kelly J Youngblood said...

Thanks, Stephanie. I can't wait until I go back to Albuquerque next year and can do it again. Yes, it is about trust for sure. It was a surprisingly big deal to trust that it was ok to even step into it, not having any idea what I was supposed to do or what would happen. I almost chickened out.

Angela said...

I love analogies, and this is a great one that rings true. It's so easy to compare with others and forget that ultimately God is the one true guide.