|CONVO: On the road together|
by Tara Lamont Eastman
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Exodus 13:21 (NIV)
Youth and adults have gathered for another year of CONVO! This year we have been learning and living the Exodus story. We have been using a nine by twelve foot walkable labyrinth, creating personal travel labyrinths, and our “family” shirts feature a seven-circuit labyrinth as a reminder that God goes with us wherever we go.
Labyrinths are prayer tools that allow the walker to move towards the center—closer to God—and move out being renewed by God’s continual presence. According to an article written by the Sisters of Providence, Christian labyrinths may have arisen as a substitute for pilgrimages to the Holy Land. People who could not travel imitated the real journey, but they were also engaged in a spiritual journey that was still very real. The cathedrals at Rheims, Amiens, and Chartres had labyrinths, all located in the nave. Moving out of the labyrinth has traditionally been a symbol of rebirth or resurrection.
Saron Lutheran Church, a ELCA church in Ashland, Wis., describes the process of walking a labyrinth to be a threefold process:
Release: walking into the labyrinth is a time to release your troubles, clear and quiet your mind. Open your heart to whatever it might feel.
Receive: reaching the center. This can be a place of meditation and prayer. Pause and open yourself to the Holy Spirit. Listen to that small inner voice.
Return: reconnecting with the outer world. As you follow the path out, experience the sense of well being, healing, excitement, calm or peace.
It is with a thankful heart that I have been serving as chaplain for this awesome group of youth and adults. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we gather alongside you. If you would like to pray and walk our labyrinth while attending the assembly, just ask people wearing the labyrinth pattern t-shirts and we’d be happy to show you the way. Connected in prayer, we travel this journey together!