Thursday, July 14, 2011

Such a Holy Place

We are having our Summer Week of Prayer at Trinity United Methodist Church. We have emailed a prayer a day to the congregation. Our staff members have prayed some incredible prayers!! Our chapel is always open for prayer and our prayer list is sent to the prayer warriors twice a week. But for this special week, we borrowed a portable labyrinth from another large UMC in our area and it is set up in our gym for the entire week. (I have to give Mark a lot of love on the set up - he crawled on his hands and knees on that hard gym floor to put the whole thing together for me on Saturday - such a good husband!)(I have to tell you that I had on a black skirt and nice top yesterday and layed on my belly on the nasty gym floor to take these pictures . . .I was so hoping that no one would come in while I was lying there!!!)

So you might wonder, "What is a labyrinth?" "Is that a Christian thing to do?" Well, a labyrinth is a series of winding paths - a long walkway that finally leads you to the center. You pray (so yes - it is very Christian - labyrinths have been used for a couple of thousand years!!) as you walk "in" and as you pray, you release those sins that hold you back. You can actually pray anything you want - there are no rules. Yesterday as I walked "in," I prayed for my family. I prayed for a teaching job for Laura. I prayed for Glenn and Lauren to find a home church in their new town and for them to find a group of Christian friends. I prayed for our young adults on Tuesday night. I prayed for forgiveness of my sins. I prayed for the John Wesley class and I prayed that God would use me as teacher and facilitator. I spent a lot of time with God talking about all sorts of things. When I reached the middle . . .which is a place that kind of represents a moment of grace from God (those are my words - not a true definition) I cannot describe the sense of peace that I felt.

As you walk back out, you pray for God to prepare you for the world - to be his hands and feet. You can pray for him to lead your steps (I always have to pray something like this, "Lord lead me instead of allowing me to rush through my day dragging you along behind me.")

Yesterday was one of the times that I was "working" the labyrinth (the staff person sitting down there with it so the candles don't catch anything on fire). A young man came and walked the labyrinth while I was working and as he made his way toward the center, I felt as if the "air" in the gym changed - I can't put it in words exactly. When he got to the center, he sat down cross-legged in the middle with his back to me. At that moment, our gym was transformed into one of the most holy places on this earth. As I've retold that story this morning, I have chill bumps all over. I actually picked up my laptop and stepped outside the gym because it was obvious that he was having some important time with God and it was even more obvious that God was with him. I've been a Christian pretty much all my life and God still amazes me. It is amazing that a dirty old gym (actually ours is pretty decent!) with a piece of canvas on the floor and a few candles can be the holiest place on earth for a few moments.

The labyrinth will be in place through Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. We have to whisk it away at that time because our Vacation Bible School starts early the next morning. I'm working again on Sunday night from five until eight . . .and I can't wait to see what God has in store for those who come . . . .and maybe for me. (if you live anywhere close by, come on over - we would love for you to walk the labyrinth)

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