I imagined tonight a labyrinth course that one could journey upon with eleven stations and six elements (each would be visited/considered twice). My theology herein may not be perfect (as if) and it's still a seed-idea, but maybe:
After praying silently for a few minutes, you are ready to begin. As you embark on your journey, pick up the mirror placed near the entrance. Study your face. Thank God for your life, for your very breath. Exhale onto the mirror and watch the vapor condense onto the glass. God is present with you on your pilgrimage; as close as your breath. Now set aside the mirror: on this journey you must decrease; God must increase. Continue in silence.
A little further along, you see a bound copy of Holy Scripture. Open to the bookmarked passage from Mark's Gospel; ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read. You do not seek to master the text, but rather seek to be changed by the text, as you meditate over the passage several times. Pray that God would open your eyes as you continue the journey in silence.
On your journey inward to God's Table, you stop in front of an audio player. There are two chants on the playlist. Listen to the first chant marked "Veni Sancte Spiritus" — participate by quietly singing along with the choir if you are comfortable doing so. The Latin words are an invocation or sorts, asking the Holy Spirit to come and fill us. You may find it easier to sit down while the selection plays.
When you arrive at the next station, there will be a small table full of votive candles. As you continue in prayer, take and light a candle for your journey, representing the light of Christ, the Word of God. Worship blends Word and Table. Continue your journey towards the center holding the lit candle.
In this, the last station before you reach the Table, you have an opportunity to be completely honest with God, about your iniquities, your sin-nature, your fears, your failings. Take the paintbrush and create an image representing the thing or things serving as a barrier between you and God. His forgiveness is at hand.
[the communion elements are made available here at the middle of the labyrinth: the actual feast should be tailored to the eucharistic tradition of the facilitating group.] Individuals should take as much time as they want in adoration/contemplation, for here, Christ is present.
Return to the painting you made earlier. Since encountering Christ, has your perspective of the painting — of your burden — changed? Why or why not? Ask yourself whether you're being called to repent of an earlier sin, or to lay down a burden that you no longer need to carry. Continue along your outward journey a little lighter.
As you return to the table, place your candle in the votive holder — let the light from your journey blend with the other candles already there. Spend a moment contemplating the community of faith surrounding you, where you live and worship. Continue in your journey out into the daily rhythms of life knowing you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
On your journey outward from God's Table, you again stop in front of the audio player. Listen to the second chant marked "Alleluia" — participate by singing along with the choir if you are comfortable doing so. Consider the words ("God be praised"). Afterwards, continue your journey prayerfully.
Here again is the bound copy of the Bible. Open to the bookmarked passage from Mark's Gospel; ask the Holy Spirit's continued guideance as you read. You do not seek to master the text, but rather seek to be changed by the text. As you meditate over the passage several times, thank God for the change that's already happened in your life today; and ask for God's strength to continue to change, to proclaim the gospel, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world.
As you trade this journey for the next one, look into the mirror you earlier placed on the ground. Study your face. Thank God for Creation, for this journey, this pilgrimage-in-miniature. God is present with you on your outward journey as well: as close as your breath. Be on your way.
- paul soupiset
september 26, 2007