What Is a Labyrinth?
As children of God we nurture our sacred imagination through touchstones—music, poetry, nature, meditation, worship, prayer and silence—each offering its own path to an experience of the presence of God. The labyrinth at St. Anne’s offers another kind of touchstone, offered as a place of quiet, peace and rest in a noisy world.
Labyrinths have been found on clay tablets and carved into massive stones and on coins in Crete that were at least 2000 years old. They have been found in Egyptian tombs, Roman mosaics, and built into the ground on isolated islands in Scandinavia. The earliest known use of labyrinths in Christianity dates to the 12th century, were a labyrinth was built inside a cathedral in Chartes, France to represent the pilgrim’s path to Jerusalem, for use by those who could not make the long journey to the Holy Land.
Not a Maze, But a Pilgrimage
A labyrinth is not a maze, which is designed with blind stops leading to confusion, anxiety and backtracking. Instead a labyrinth offers a guided sacred walk in three parts:
- The first part of the path from the beginning to the center is for releasing, emptying, quieting, shedding, letting go of the things that, when held tightly, bring stress, worry and great weight.
- The second part is found in the center, a place for meditation and prayer, for opening of heart and mind, and for coming to clarity as our longings and heartaches are illuminated and transformed by God.
- The third part is the path back from the center to the beginning. This is a time of grounding, healing, empowerment, insight, energy, replenishment and reintegration with the world.
St. Anne’s Labyrinth
The labyrinth at St. Anne’s was conceived by a group of parishioners in the summer of 2016 and brought to completion and dedicated on Pentecost Sunday in 2017. The labyrinth is constructed of mulch and river rocks, and—together with the Moon Memorial Pergola—has been landscaped with attention and care to provide a quiet and peaceful place on our grounds for prayer and contemplation. The labyrinth is located on the north side of the campus under the oak trees just beyond the Ministry Center. It is open during daylight hours to all who wish to use it.
Considerations Before Walking
- Turn off your phone.
- Take your time.
- Breathe deeply.
- Let your intrusive thoughts go.
- Listen in your own silence.
- Rest in a few moments of quiet before you race back into the world.
- Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.