Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The labyrinth is an ancient Christian symbol of Christ’s leading us towards the goal or vision he has placed in our hearts.  At times, we appear to get close, only to be led away again; at times, following means being obedient even when it doesn’t appear to make sense.  Unlike a maze, there are no dead ends – the path leads to its goal, though the route is indirect.

Trace your finger along the labyrinth.  (You can click on the image to enlarge it.)

As you do, bring before God your day, or the season you find yourself in, with its twists and turns, and give yourself again to the One who says, “Follow me!”

Freely receive, freely give:

I led a group of people in this prayerful exercise yesterday.  One of them fed back to the group that she hadn’t been able to trace the path, despite trying a number of times.  At first glance, she had seen Jesus’ bowed head in the circle at the labyrinth’s heart; his arms, outstretched on the cross, also in its design...and, unable to proceed, was struck that the path to resurrection life must always lead first to the cross, and the death of the very goal or vision Christ has placed in our hearts.

It was a profound and beautiful moment.


  1. Hello,
    Whilst I can see the merit in a piece of imagery which, as you say, has no dead ends but if you persist for long enough then you eventually reach the goal, I have to say that I think the idea of a labyrinth has unfortunate connotations with being lost and stuck and trapped, a seemingless pointless, unrewarding journey. This would reflect a spiritual experience where one searched for a long time for faith without success, but fails to reflect what I think is the experience of many, whereby one has a series of moments where one feels closer to God - understanding and nearness grows with particular experiences, readings. I am afraid that the labyrinth overlooks or even contradicts this road to faith and seems to suggest the need for a eureka moment, rather than a gradual path to understanding. Hadn't come across it before though, and certainly interesting, so thank you.
    Herr Bench.

  2. Hello, and thank you for your comment. The labyrinth isn't intended to fully express every aspect of our faith journeys - it would indeed be inadequate to do so - but has from very early times been used by Christians as a tool to aid prayer and reflection. I don't see it as a trap or unrewarding; perhaps more as a thing of intricate beauty, a journey that is at least as rewarding in the undertaking as it may be in the arriving. It may represent a gradual path where at times we feel closer to God, at times further away from God; though perhaps more closer to/further from the thing we sense God has called us to do? I'd certainly recommend its merits, though I wouldn't claim anything more for it than it can bear.

  3. Thanks Andrew, I liked this post.

    I started the labyrinth then realised I would have to take time to finish it, not just rush away. Challenged my desire to take short cuts and reminded me to choose the long route sometimes.

    Also noticed what you mention in your comment. At times I felt close to the centre and at other times distant. Reminded me of fruit and pruning and helped me pray today.