Walking a Lenten Labyrinth
Did you know that Wednesday, 26 February was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent? Lent is a season of preparation in the Christian calendar that helps us join with Jesus in plodding the path to the cross, and pondering the significance of Easter for our own lives and the world around us. Lent intentionally brings us into step with the rhythm of what has sometimes been called The Paschal Mystery or Paschal Cycle: the death and resurrection of Jesus. In contemplating Jesus’ suffering and death, we connect to our own points of falleness and loss: failed relationships, mental and physical anguish, confusion and sorrow, the deep ache of being human in a broken world. In contemplating Jesus’ resurrection, we connect to our own points of surprise and joy: the birth of new beginnings, sunsets, creative synergy, good food and raucous laughter, the deep wonder of being human in a beautiful world.
The Paschal Cycle reminds us that death and life are deeply connected. Catholic spiritual writer Henri Nouwen says this: “Celebration is only possible through the deep realization that life and death are never found completely separate. Celebration can only really come about where fear and love, joy and sorrow, tears and smiles can exist together … We can indeed make our sorrows, just as much as our joys, a part of our celebration of life in the deep reality that life and death are not opponents but do, in fact, kiss each other at every moment of our existence.” (https://henrinouwen.org/meditation/joys-and-sorrows-kiss/) Walking through Lent with some intentionality can help us become more present to how our experiences of death and life share in those of Jesus.
How to walk the labyrinth
Early on in the Lenten journey, there will be a pop-up labyrinth in the courtyard of the Adelaide campus. A labyrinth is an ancient tool used for spiritual reflection and contemplation that connects our bodies to the practice of praying with an awareness of our life’s journey. With only one path, it is not a maze, but rather a circuitous trail that swings us in and out before arriving at the centre. God is not far from us, but in fact, at the centre of our stories. As we enter the Lenten season, the labyrinth helps us attend to God’s loving presence amidst the twists and turns of death and life we experience in our journeys. MTC students taking the class Theological Reflection will be walking the labyrinth in pairs as a way of experiencing the reflection process in an embodied, communal way. But the labyrinth will be open to anyone to walk. Though you can walk it in whichever way you find meaningful, the following simple outline might provide a useful guide if you are looking for a little structure.
RELEASE As I walk in, what deaths do I sense I am carrying as I enter this Lenten season? What might it mean to release these to God over the course of the coming weeks? To release them now?
RECEIVE As I pause in the centre, on what do I find myself centering? What is my heart’s desire for resurrection? What words, images or impressions arrive that I might receive as gifts of hope from God?
RE-ENTER/RE-ENGAGE As I walk back out, how do I feel about re-entering my web of relationships, roles and realities with new life? What might it mean to walk with God in these with what I have received? What might it mean to walk my Lenten journey in a more human, grounded and life-giving way?
LocationTABOR 181 Goodwood Road MILLSWOOD
DateTuesday, 3 - Friday, 6 March 2020