The Labyrinth of Faith
Today, we are each standing at the entry of the labyrinth of Easter, a Lenten pilgrimage of twists and turns before we reach the center, Easter Sunday. There is a rich history of Christians embarking on pilgrimages to encounter God. In our own time, over 300 million people set out on some form of religious pilgrimage every year to Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago, and Lourdes. Countless others embark on private journeys of the spirit, trying to step away from the noise of their lives in a quest for something sacred. Archaeologists have determined that this impulse, this need to search for the Divine, dates back to the earliest cultures. I find that my own journey of faith often feels like a journey through a labyrinth. Just when I think I am on the right path I hit a dead end and must set out in another direction, all with hopes of one day reaching the center.
It is written into our DNA to spend our lives trying to reach the center, the place where God dwells. We are all “Seekers,” yearning to experience something in our lives that is sacred, holy, and more than what we can see with our eyes or reason with our intellect. St. Augustine said, “Lord, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Our time here on Earth is a life-long pilgrimage, a sacred journey to the center of the labyrinth where we will experience union with God. I believe that we are each created in the image and likeness of God with this beautiful divinity deeply embedded within us. It explains this powerful, I would even say supernatural longing we feel for connecting with that which created us.
I like to think that we are each fitted with this sacred magnet within our souls that is drawn in such a powerful way to that which is holy, sacred and eternal. Our lives become this journey, this seeking to connect with that divine piece of metal. When our magnet locks in, we finally experience home, unimaginable love and complete union with God.
The problem is we ignore the pull, or we try to find other metals to satisfy the longing. It takes courage to simply surrender, walk the road of the pilgrim, and embrace the magnetism of God.
Over 2,000 years ago, we watched the disciples embark on their own journey. The Gospel of Mark shows us Peter and Andrew casting their nets in the sea, living their normal lives as fisherman. Jesus shows up and all he says is, “Follow me.” The disciples had no idea where it would lead them. They could not see the aerial view of God’s Master plan and yet they laid down their nets and followed Jesus into the labyrinth.
At some point on the journey of life, each one of us has heard those words, “Follow me,” spoken to the intimate places of our being. The problem is we have a hard time laying down our nets and journeying into the labyrinth, into the unknown in search of God. Following God is hard, unpredictable, it stretches us, and contradicts our human need to be in control of our own destiny.
Lent is a great wake-up call. It beckons us to ask the question…Am I on the right path? Remember, this is your pilgrimage, not anyone else’s. God knows if your heart is fully committed to the journey. Jesus said in Mark 6:8, take neither your purse nor belt for the journey. I believe Jesus is saying, take an account of your life, are you so weighted down by your job, your family, your insecurities, your past baggage, your need to be in control, your fear of death that you are having a hard time making your way down the path, fully seeking the Divine? Or are you just going through the motions? Showing up for church here and there, giving up a prayer when duty calls, writing the quick check to charity? Are you missing the wonder and the mystery and the miraculous of God on your life journey?
Life on this side is not perfect. I can promise you that you will find yourself at some point in the valley of the shadows, you will get lost along the way, their will be periods of drought in your faith and you will stumble and have to watch others that you love stumble. But I believe there is a Master Plan, an aerial view that is so full of grace.
Here are some secrets to walking the labyrinth: Walk whatever path is set before you with gratitude. Don’t miss the beauty on the road. Encourage other pilgrims that cross your path. When the path becomes too difficult, remember that God is walking it with you and has already promised that you will make it to the center!
Live in Hope,