When describing what we’re all about here at Practical Church Resources, we often say that we’re “like a library, but so much more.” Our consultants, with years of experience in a variety of church ministries, are what make us able to individualize the way we work with people from many different denominations. After assessing the needs of someone who’s contacting us for help, we often recommend resources, such as books, CDs, and DVDs.
But our resource collection goes beyond these and includes banners, puppets, a puppet theater, and more. For those in our geographic area, our labyrinths are popular when planning retreats or special worship events. Besides our 15’ x 15’ canvas floor labyrinth, we have a wooden finger labyrinth as well as a medal pocket labyrinth. We also have books and a DVD with information on the history of the labyrinth and suggestions on walking the labyrinth.
For those unfamiliar with labyrinths, they are ancient tools for prayer and meditation, with an outer entrance, a winding path, and a central space. A labyrinth is not the same as a maze and you cannot get lost in a labyrinth as there are no dead ends. Full-size labyrinths are located both outside and inside buildings and can be constructed of a variety of materials. The Chartres Cathedral labyrinth is set into the stone floor and fills the width of the nave. Simpler labyrinths can be constructed with stones or even duct tape.
There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth and it’s hard to describe the experience to someone who has never done it. You may find that it’s best to spend time in reflection before you begin, taking some deep breaths and perhaps inviting the Holy Spirit to be with you. Then you walk the labyrinth at whatever pace is comfortable for you, and you may pause along the path. Once in the center, stop and be aware of God’s presence and listen for God’s message to you. When you are ready, begin your journey outward.
If you’d like to learn more, there are many great websites about labyrinths, including that of The Labyrinth Society. If you’re looking for a labyrinth in your area, you can visit the World-Wide Labyrinth Locater. You can purchase a labyrinth online or find directions to make your own. Relax4Life has a page with paper finger labyrinths that you can download. Labyrinths are not just for adults; children and youth enjoy this spiritual practice as well.