Labyrinth at the Church
Today’s Sunday service on 28 January 2018 was very special. From the foyer, we could see a maze that was set up on the church floor and we were told to be careful not to damage it. Later on, we have found out it was a labyrinth, rather than a maze. Rob Hoskin has set this one up for us with tape and streamers, having eight corners (an octagon) and in the middle there was a stone container filled with water, again having an octagonal shape. We learned that labyrinths were conceived in the Neolythic period, then, in Greek mythology linked to the Athenian hero Theseus killing the Cretan Minotaur. This man-bull was thought to have been housed in the Labyrinth, designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete.
Labyrinths took on special meaning for Christians. Thought to be a representation of the spiritual quest of the pilgrim travelling to the holy land, labyrinths began appearing in Europe in the 12th century and installed in many churches.
Walking Through the Labyrinth
Our labyrinth had eight corners, symbolic of Baptism and new birth. The design was similar to the most famous labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France, but smaller to fit the space. We walked through the labyrinth, quietly, pondering or praying, as we recalled the meaning of discipleship. On reaching the centre of the Labyrinth, we splashed ourselves with water from the ‘font’ to recall our Baptism, or what it means to affirm new life/birth as we reconfirmed our relationship with the Creator. As we walked back to the entrance, we took this blessing back to our everyday life.
David’s Thoughts for this Sunday
One morning last week I went for a walk through the park just behind our home. I walk there often; usually with my greyhound Jack. It had been a hot uncomfortable night and I was hungry for some fresh cooler air. Jack didn’t stir from his personal cushion near the laundry, so I walked alone.
The sun hadn’t been up too long and was just rising above local roof tops. There was a gentle breeze and new morning light danced along the footpath. The softness of the light was comforting but the shadows it created were dull and gloomy. It was pleasantly eerie. A familiar footpath had been transformed into something dark and mysterious. It produced within me a heightened sense of mystery. I was acutely alert. Magpies were warbling and a few bats were still making their way home to enjoy their upside-down world near the Yarra River.
I slowly made my way through the small woodland area making very little noise and emerged at the edge of the local cricket oval. A tiny movement caught my eye so I stopped. I gave myself some time to focus. About 10 metres away sat a fox. You don’t often see them sitting. She didn’t move and nor did I. We just looked at each other for what seemed like ages.Then she slowly stood up, turned and loped away.
She didn’t look back (why would she) but I watched her canter confidently across the oval and disappear behind the practice nets of the local cricket team.
It doesn’t matter how old I get, simple encounters with nature of this kind still thrill me, just as they did when I was a child. There’s something enchanting about meeting another living creature that is so different from me yet we share and enjoy the same environment.
That reminds me, I must find a way of enticing a family of brush tailed possums out of my roof and into a nesting box in the garden.
Have a nature-filled 2018 – and may the parables you find within it enrich your faith-life.
David Pargeter, Minister