THE POTTERS HOUSE: LABYRINTH

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    One of the key elements to our worship evening on Sunday was a labyrinth. We chose this to contrast the play dough activity which was fun and very sensual, but at the same time it complimented the concept of the evening: when all is stripped away, and it is just us and God- let him shape us, change us, and reveal himself to us

    So what is a Labyrinth…

    A Labyrinth is an ancient form of meditative walk, a symbolic form of pilgrimage. The traveller enters the labyrinth slowly and mindful of God to let go and clear their mind in order for God to fill it.  There are many different types of pattern that a Labyrinth can take, we chose a meandering path which was easy to lay out based on concentric circles and the outline was one continuous line. A very common form of labyrinth pattern ‘Chartres’ can be found on church floors and is named after the Chartres Cathedral. Whatever lay out they take their aim is the same to take the traveller on a path to the centre of Gods heart and on their journey to discover and receive revelation and inspiration.

    How did we do our Labyrinth…

    labyrinth lay outOur event took place in a large community hall- not ideal for intimate experiences so we positioned our labyrinth on the stage behind the curtains with only one spotlight on. We had enough space for a very simple meandering labyrinth about 4.5 in diameter. I marked out the maze using concentric circles with the centre circle 1.5 diameter and each outer ring 0,5m wide. We were short on set up time so I marked out the path on some large sheets the day before! This pattern created a path wide enough for someone to comfortably walk round.  Two turns simply had to be created. It was big enough for 3 people to walk at any given time. We then used 2 long strings of fairy lights to mark the outline of the maze. At the centre we placed a communion table.

    Sorry: Before people went up onto the stage to walk the labyrinth they read some instructions on walking the path. It s important to prepare people for the spiritual journey ahead and to get them in the right frame of mind. For example:

    Think of something in your mind that  you’d like to let go of.  When you reach the center, take time to leave  it there – and then savor your return walk  free from that  burden. 

    Enjoy the sensation of traveling without any particular  sense of destination; for once, let yourself be a “holy wanderer,” enjoy  the meandering path and let yourself feel aimless.

     Think about something you’re looking for, hoping to find,  longing for – and when you arrive at the center, see what insight may be  waiting to greet you there.

    (adapted from unboxedworship.wordpress.com)

    Before starting they were encouraged to repent and wash their hands and take off their shoes as symbols of submission.

    Thank you:As they slowly walked the path they came across sweets- these were to be symbols of all that we have to be thankful for on our journey with Jesus.

    Please: When they reached the centre the communion of crackers and grape juice was accompanied with a prayer taken from  Alternative Worship by Jonny Baker, and a hanging invitation to take a strip of paper labelled with things people may be seeking from Jesus as they approach His table.

    This trio of activations simply helped focus people’s minds on this new experience. Whatever additions to the labyrinth you create make sure they follow each other and don’t disrupt the sense of journey.

    Click on the thumbnails to enlarge…

    labyrinth  communion  tags  thanks

    tags  prayer  labyrinth  communion

    Other Labyrinth ideas…

    Believe it or not a Labyrinth is something that you could easily do in the garden! How about mowing the labyrinth path in the lawn and using the longer grass at the edging to your path. The labyrinth could be marked out with rope, stones, candles even masking tape. Given enough space patterns can become quite elaborate and allow pausing places for prayer stations. Often a labyrinth is used in the run up to Easter to tell the story of the stations of the cross, and at advent to mirror Mary’s journey leading up to Christmas. You could have a guest book at the end of the labyrinth and get people to write and share their experience/insights. This is especially good if the labyrinth is installed for a few days and people may not journey it when another is present. It helps people connect their journeys and help see if there is a prophetic thread that tells of a bigger story trying to be told amongst your community. You could encourage people to walk the labyrinth more than once as no two journeys are the same and on second walking a deeper level of revelation may be achieved. I have even seen labyrinths with handrails allowing people to walk the route blindfold. Next time you’re looking for something a bit different to broaden peoples worship experience try and implement a labyrinth!

     

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