World Labyrinth Day: walking alone, but together in spirit

Reflections

“For those of us who are spending much more time at home than usual, we can build resilience and care for ourselves through meditation and prayer – labyrinth meditation is one particularly helpful approach,” say Randal and Susan Dennings from St Matthew’s, Holland Park, as World Labyrinth Day approaches on 2 May

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Who would have thought just a few months ago that we would be in this situation, with people needing to shelter in their homes as much as possible to keep people in their communities well and safe?

How can we ‘step out in faith’ in this unusual time and embrace the Archbishop’s theme for 2020, ‘Being Together: Practising Peacemaking’?

Across our Diocese we are finding new ways of ‘being together’, through Zoom fellowship, keeping in touch via phone and mail, and supporting, praying for and encouraging each other. We are finding and implementing creative ways to keep the flame of faith and hope alive in our hearts.

Our grateful thanks for the innovative and inspiring leadership from our clergy and lay leaders, as well as to those good folk helping people in high-risk groups with grocery shopping and staying connected.

Many parishes and Diocesan schools and organisations have moved swiftly and resolutely to adapt to the new circumstances by maintaining contact and support within their own communities and seizing the opportunity for innovative outreach to the wider community, particularly those in need.

Further to these efforts, World Labyrinth Day (WLD) on Saturday 2 May 2020 provides us all with an additional opportunity to pause and reflect (both individually and collectively) upon where we have ‘come from’ in our life journey. Wherever we find ourselves at 1 pm on WLD, take at least a few minutes to discern the Divine invitation to you in the midst of our current challenging circumstances to practise peacemaking and to seek healing for our world.

During times of anxiety and uncertainty, doctors and wellness professionals encourage us to practise ‘self-care’. For those of us who are spending much more time at home than usual, we can build resilience and care for ourselves through meditation and prayer – labyrinth meditation is one particularly helpful approach.

But, how can we ‘gather’ together at this time to be encouraged and share in the global need for peacemaking and healing?

Our Brisbane 2020 WLD event was to be held at St Francis College, with a wide range of walks and fun activities planned for all ages. However, in order to help ‘flatten the curve’ and keep our communities safe the international WLD organising committee and the Anglican Labyrinth Resource Group (ALRG) have decentralised WLD activities. So, in lieu of the planned events, we will be encouraging folks to ‘walk alone, but together in spirit’ at 1 pm on Saturday 2 May.

The ALRG has prepared a range of topical reflections and resources suitable for all ages, focussing on the theme of ‘world healing and peacemaking’. If you are unfamiliar with using the labyrinth as a prayer or meditation tool, find out more by checking out this recent anglican focus reflection.

For those who have mobility limitations or are unable to access a walking labyrinth, you can let your fingers ‘do the walking’ using a ‘finger labyrinth’. As you pray and meditate, you move your finger along the path from the outside to the centre and then back out again. Many actually prefer this type of meditative activity (as opposed to actually walking a full-size labyrinth) and its beneficial effects are proving to be equally effective. You can download your own finger labyrinth.

There are also plans to post ‘virtual walks’ across Australia that you can download, as well as providing the opportunity to post your prayers and  thoughts concerning world peacemaking and healing during this difficult time. St John’s Cathedral will host a ‘virtual walk’, with an additional virtual walk to be hosted at Campfire in the Heart at Alice Springs, with other venues pending.

We are encouraged by the words of Bishop Jeremy Greaves, the ALRG Patron:

“The challenging COVID-19 environment offers us an invitation to re-discover many of the practices of the faith that we may have neglected in the past. With Sunday gatherings suspended and with no opportunity to gather for Holy Communion, what are the practices that will sustain us through this time? It seems to me that the labyrinth might be one such practice that is easily adapted for these times and I commend to you the resources shared by the ALRG. As you rediscover or recommit yourself to a pattern of daily prayer, a virtual labyrinth walk may offer an additional practice that will sustain you now and into the future.”

Please let us know if you, or your parish or school would like to receive ALRG resources by email to share with your family and networks. To find out more information or if you wish to register or to participate further, please contact Randal Dennings via randaldennings@gmail.com or 0408 878 711.

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