Yesterday was Memorial Day, and the official beginning of summer. All of our summers will contain a journey of some sort. Some of us may travel to a family reunion, or we may travel near and far for a vacation or our travels may take us to the back porch where we open a book that we’ve been waiting to read. Wherever we find ourselves, we are on a journey.
Journey is a central image in the scripture from the earliest times. Abraham and Sarah were called to leave the place that they knew and go to a new place that God was giving them. And, the entire scriptural witness is a witness of journey, of being called to follow. We follow Christ and we give thanks for the unfolding journey.
Our Annual Conference has a wonderful tool for you to use in your local church that will help you explore your journey with God. It’s called the labyrinth. It’s a 24 foot canvas map, clearly marked, you enter the labyrinth and you follow the path that winds and turns and finally leads you to the center.
A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze tries to trick us up. We come to end places and have to turn around and retrace our steps. A labyrinth, however, is a spiritual tool, because we trust the strength and rightness of the path. Even when it loops back and we think we are moving farther from the center, if we follow the path of the labyrinth, it takes us to the center.
This image of the spiritual journey has enriched the lives of people across the years, and the labyrinth which we have in the Annual Conference resource center, you can check out and use in your church. You can spread it out and invite people to walk the journey toward the center and then from the center back out into the world. They’re books and tools for you to use interpreting this wonderful tool for Christian nurture in your church.
There is also a workshop coming very soon for those who would like to learn more about the labyrinth and its’ use in Christian Formation. On June the 5th, at Windborne United Methodist Church, in Raleigh, from 10 to noon, a 2 hour workshop is available to you so that you may learn about the labyrinth, experience it, and plan to extend this experience to others.
Wherever your journey takes you this summer, may you find Christ in it, step by step.