Friday, August 05, 2011
I was feeling pretty tired after taking part in a week-long children's programme at the beginning of July. Then I was one of the speakers at an all-age holiday weekend from 22nd to 25th. So when the third summer event took place at my church in Castiñeiras (Galicia) --a weekend for young adults, called RenovAcción (28th-31st July)-- I wasn't intending to actually DO anything! The coordinator of the event had invited me to attend "simply to observe".
Hmm! Well, it wasn't long before I was fully involved again in yet another project! One reason was that the pile of stones left over from the all-age weekend were very inviting... and soon I began designing and organizing for the first time in my life an open-air Prayer and Bible Labyrinth, as well as several prayer and meditation stations inside the church building.
I found some resources for this from www.labyrinth.org.uk. With help from a few volunteers, it took us a full day to set up.
Based on the three phases of devotional Bible engagement: (i) entering (getting ready, shedding, openness, confession...); (ii) centring (engagement with the Bible text, lectio divina, meditation...; (iii) leaving (response, commitment, intercession, witness, integration, incarnation...), the labyrinth invites participants to get deeply involved in a dynamic and creative experience of encountering God through the Bible and prayer.
Each of the 'pilgrims' walked the labyrinth at their own pace - most spent at least 20 minutes, some over an hour, in the process. Before leaving the labyrinth, they wrote their comments in the 'Pilgrim's Journal'. In the end, the labyrinth experience was rated very highly by the young people in their overall evaluation of the weekend. Here's a selection of their comments (translated from the original Spanish):
"How time flies when walking these paths... just like life itself!"
"My life is like a labyrinth, but God knows perfectly well where I am."
"I need to learn how to be in silence and to enjoy it. It's not a waste of time!"
"I ask the Lord to help me find God's peace."
"A necessary spiritual exercise... a 'way' to purify your soul."
"The labyrinth has been a haven of peace."
"A time and place of quietness and thought."
"Thanks for helping me to speak to God in such a dynamic way."
"The labyrinth is a precious moment to spend with the Lord."
"Peace for the soul comes from God alone, who is the only one that can cover you like soothing ointment. This is what I discovered in this labyrinth."
"The labyrinth has helped me realise that I do not listen to God like I really should. It has given me a chance to be still and to spend time with God."
"I know that God is here speaking to me."
"Being in the centre of the labyrinth is fixing your gaze on God."
"Thank you, God, for being with me each step of the way. Great is your faithfulness!"
"I need to come back to You... The labyrinth reminds me of the place where I should be, where I am meant to be... I'm so sorry!"
"God is the active principle in our lives... in my life. Thank you!"
More photos can be found HERE