I walked the labyrinth at Tamworth.
Labyrinth walking, is one of these really fringe Christian mystical spiritual experiences. I am not sure of the beginnings of of labyrinth walking, however it is clear that it has been part of the Christian Church since very early times. The cathedral, for example, at Chartres includes a fine labyrinth picked out in tiles that is still in use today. One of the worrying things about labyrinth walking is that it is also actively being picked up by various New Age and non-Christian religious streams. Currently, however, there is a growing use of labyrinth walking in Christian mysticism.
My interest in labyrinth walking, was one of these let's try it and see what it is like approaches. The first step was to find a labyrinth that was easy for me to get to it without having to do a special trip. Happily, it turned out that there was a labyrinth about an hour's drive from my parents place and the experience could easily be worked in to a normal family holiday with my parents. I found the labyrinth using the labyrinth finder now on the Veriditas Page.
After working through a lot of teasing by my family, I arranged to spend the day with my wife and my youngest son in Tamworth, one part of which was to be my labyrinth walk.
The labyrinth was green paint drawn on a concrete disc about four metres in diameter. There was a date set into the concrete showing a the year 2000, and it was clear that the labyrinth had been well maintained during the previous three years. Despite the relatively small disk on which the labyrinth was drawn, it is amazing how long that the actual path is from the entrance to the centre.
One of the things that I was doing on this holiday was to spend some time with God preparing for a new phase of ministry. The labyrinth walk was to be one part of this process. It was to be an opportunity to hand over and celebrate the past, to celebrate the possibilities of the present and to celebrate the consistency and faithfullness of God in the future.
As I walked into the labyrinth, I began in to pick up the things in my past ministry that may hold me back from this new ministry and handed them over to God. I consciously let go of of past achievements and past responsibilities.
Before I knew it, I was at the centre of the labyrinth. I stopped and looked back the way I had come. This was the closing of the old life and the opening of a new life and possibilities of the launch of a new phase of ministry.
I continued my walk out of the labyrinth. I felt a real sense of God's acceptance of me and this process of moving on in ministry. I felt a real sense of acceptance of the path given by God and the hope of the new possibilities of that path.
I felt good after the labyrinth walk and allowed my youngest son to also walk the labyrinth. He went at it with his usual enthusiastic run. As a mystical experience there was not a huge amount of cause and effect. I felt relaxed, but not a mountain top experience.
That night, when I went to pray, I felt an extreme sense of release. A sense of closure and freedom from the past.