Today's chapel moment came not from sitting in a chapel, but from walking around in circles!
|Photo ©: Jeff Saward/Labyrinthos|
Chartres Cathedral in France is the site of the only surviving medieval labyrinth in the world.
A labyrinth is a circle with a path that winds from the entry point to the center.. and then back out again. It's not like a maze, where the walker can become confused by the choices of going this way or that. The labyrinth has a structured path with no options that might lead the walker to become lost or disoriented. You enter and leave at the same point.
One way in--one way out.
The tradition of walking the labyrinth dates back four to five thousand years. In Christianity today, many of the faithful will walk the pattern of the labyrinth as a way of settling the mind and spirit, and for focusing on developing a closer walk with God.
My introduction to the labyrinth came at the University of West Florida. The Chartres Labyrinth was re-created in the Commons Auditorium. I didn't know what to expect, as I walked into the darkened room, which was illuminated by candlelight and was filled with the soft sounds of medieval music.
I sat in a chair for a few minutes, adjusting to the dim light, listening to the music and thinking about why I was here. I took off my shoes, took a deep breath and took my first step. I walked slowly, alternating between praying.. and listening. When I got to the center, I just stopped.
My steps were lighter on the way out, as I retraced my foorprints When I reached the exit/entry, I felt stronger and more peaceful.
I discovered in this unusual chapel moment that my Christian faith is much like this labyrinth. Unlike other paths, this one is solid and sure. It's not a maze that can confuse and confound. It is structured, focused and secure. I can't get lost, if I stay on the path and remember...
One Way in.... One Way out.