Walking a labyrinth is like making a pilgrimage…. It is a journey where you might think about loved ones, distractions, or burdens on the way in, be open to the grace and love of God at the center and return uplifted, blessed, and renewed.
Labyrinths are ancient spiritual pathways found across the world, embraced in Medieval times, and since as a support for prayer. Today labyrinths are again being created to offer a spiritual space for prayer and reflection providing a still space in a busy world.
A labyrinth is different from a maze. A maze is full of dead ends and tricks. A labyrinth has only one path, that always leads to the center, and you cannot get lost. Just stay on the path, there is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth, no set pace, just follow the path in your own time.
…did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road —Luke 24:32
Your Labyrinth Prayer Time can be as open or as focused as you would like it to be. You might want to simply enter the labyrinth and walk with the Lord. Or before you enter the labyrinth, you might like to take time to:
-Read and reflect on a line or two from scripture
-Hold a memory or a photo of a loved one you wish to pray for
-Consider an experience in your life where you are seeking healing or forgiveness
-Think about a key celebration in your life and walk a prayer of thanks giving in the labyrinth
…you will reveal the path of life to me, give me unbounded joy in your presence… —Psalm 16:1
Praying with a Labyrinth
Be still and gently pray, I place myself in your presence O Lord, my God.
When you are ready walk into the labyrinth, just let your thoughts come to the surface and let them flow. Jesus is with you every step of the way; you are never alone. You are always loved by God.
When you reach the center consider your thoughts, stay in the center for a while and spend some time in prayer and reflection receiving God’s love and blessing. When you are ready return along the same path, return gratefully and prayerfully.
As you exit the labyrinth give thanks and praise to God, Glory be to the Father and to the son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.
If you keep a prayer journal you may like to write down words, symbols, or phrases to acknowledge and remember this time of prayer.
…Walk humbly with your God… —Micah 6:8
The Lord’s Prayer
Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The Beatitudes are eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
St. Theresa’s Prayer
May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
the history of Kenilworth Union Church Labyrinth
Part I: Labyrinth Background
By Mignon Dupepe and Cindy Fuller
As a congregation, we have celebrated Kenilworth Union Church’s 125th anniversary. Last summer, a committee shared ideas towards the development of an all-member collaborative installation to commemorate this important event.
A garden labyrinth proposal for the church grounds was approved, and committee members Cindy Fuller and Mignon Dupepe coordinated opportunities for church members to participate in painting rocks to be used for the labyrinth.
Rock painting began in September and continued throughout the spring, including painting sessions at Stephen Ministry and spring benefit meetings, youth group and children ministry programs, Tuesday prayer groups, A Joyful Noise classes, and between church services. The labyrinth will truly be a church-wide collaborative project!
Part II: Labyrinth Spirituality
By Mignon Dupepe and Cindy Fuller
To commemorate Kenilworth Union Church’s 125th anniversary, a garden labyrinth is being built for the church grounds. The decision to incorporate a labyrinth was founded by research of the benefits of using a labyrinth towards prayer and calming meditative practices.
Labyrinths can be an ideal spiritual tool to provide new ways and rituals for prayer and intentional, meditative thinking. Church member and labyrinth enthusiast, Carol Berry, shared the traditional stages of walking the labyrinth that lends to a contemporary following for our prayer path. These stages include: Purgation (releasing and shedding as we walk towards the center); Illumination (resting in the center to receive inspiration); and Union (returning to our lives with a new awareness, empowered to find and do the work for which you feel your soul is reaching).
Though walking the labyrinth can be a spiritual practice, it is also personal. The labyrinth can meet each person where they are and help them to take the next steps on their own path. As a form of body prayer, the labyrinth provides a physical, mindful, and emotional experience. Jo Forrest describes this idea of “the hands of prayer that bind us to the earth,” connecting our hearts and minds with a physical connection and our natural environment.
It is our hope that the labyrinth will be a welcome space of peace for all members to follow their inner path and explore their spiritual path as well.
Part III: Labyrinth Final Product
By Mignon Dupepe and Cindy Fuller
The labyrinth at Kenilworth Union Church has only recently been created to commemorate the church’s 125th anniversary, but labyrinths have been known to the human race for more than four thousand years. Traditional designs evolved from the spiral forms of nature, and our labyrinth is shaped following a Baltic pattern. It is located in the small grassy space to the left of the covered walkway and protected by the bushes lining the front walkway. The location is ideal, as the space will be protected but also feel like a secret meditative garden. We welcome the support of the congregation to keep the path well cared-for and maintained in the future. We anticipate a dedication ceremony in September, weather permitting. As we get closer to the dedication, we will provide prayers that may be used following the labyrinth path.
Thank you to Bev Lang and the Building and Grounds Committee for all of their support in executing the labyrinth idea for the 125th celebration. We look forward to enjoying the path during the years ahead.