Labyrinths are ancient. For thousands of years, in many cultures and in many places, people have walked the labyrinth to touch the mystery of their deepest and truest selves. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece, in the palace of Knossos in Crete where it is closely linked to Greek mythology.
In Christian usage, reference is made to a labyrinth constructed in stone on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral near Paris, around 1200 ce. Walking the labyrinth is a centuries-old practice used for spiritual centering, contemplation and prayer. The Labyrinth is not a maze. It has only one path leading to the center and then moving back out. It has no blind alleys or dead ends. The path turns and turns on itself many times before reaching the center. And once at the center, there is only one way back out. In this way, it symbolizes a journey through life—from birth to death and the spiritual awakening that comes as we journey.
Each month, dozens of people make their way to Knox and walk the labyrinth. After walking the labyrinth, these folks often light candles and leave behind, on a common prayer wall, beautiful prayers for themselves, for others and also for us at Knox.
Here is a small sampling of those prayers, thoughtfully written and posted, offering hope and encouragement. May you feel the power of these prayers, offered to you for healing and strength.
- A prayer for God to give peace and comfort to those who are heartbroken with grief or losses.
- I pray for those full of hatred to hear God speak to them to help them find peace and compassion.
- Glory to God for leading me to this labyrinth when I am far from home. Bless those who had this vision and all those who walk it.
- A prayer of healing and comfort for all the homeless in this city.
- May we all take an active and responsible role in creating healthy communities.
- Let me give love, without expecting anything in return.
- I offer a prayer for love and peace. May this beautiful labyrinth always be here.
- Love, hope, kindness, compassion and direction. Thank you, dear God, for all these things.
- I am thankful for the help given to me by the people of Knox.
- My faith has been deepened by walking this beautiful labyrinth today.
Prayers, scrawled on small squares of paper, and left behind for us—to gain courage, to face an unknown and unknowable future, to find the strength to carry on in difficult circumstances.
As the Minister for Spiritual Development here at Knox, I invite you to make your way down to the church to walk the labyrinth. The Labyrinth is open for walking Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Thursdays, from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. a facilitator is there to guide you in the walk.
I do not ask to walk straight paths, nor bear an easy load.
I simply ask for a steadfast heart, to travel this welcoming road.
Blessings, Linda Hunter