Today's Wonder of the World is...the Labyrinth!
Flickr photo by Merowig
Are you familiar with the labyrinth?
No, not that David Bowie movie where he juggles orbs and worms speak with a British accent.
No, I'm talking about the ancient pattern found in all religious traditions, shown in the amazing photo above from the Chartres cathedral in France.
The one at Chartres was the only labyrinth I'd ever seen until my church finished building ours a few weeks ago.
I think it's gorgeous there beside the grove of great big magnolias.
Until folks at my church started talking up labyrinths, I always thought they were kind of new age-y. Would we start wearing orange robes and walk around like zombies, chanting to each other?
I was suspicious. I was a little freaked out.
(What? People wandering around in circles praying don't freak you out? Not even a little bit?)
Right in the height of my freak out, the Minister of Education asked the Sunday School teachers to introduce the labyrinth to the children on Sunday. But this was my Sunday to teach!
It was time to do some research.
Let me tell you, I'm now IN LOVE with the labyrinth.
You could even call me a Labyrinth Evangelist!
(Don't worry. No desk pounding or Bible thumping here. That comes later. Ha ha.)
Let me show you the cool stuff I found.
Flickr photo by MomLes
Guess where they found the oldest sketch of a labyrinth? On the back of a goat delivery/inventory tablet in southern Greece!
I wonder what's on the back of their grocery lists?
There are plenty of types of labyrinths, some more complicated than others.
But they all have one entrance point and lead you on a meandering path to the center.
Unlike mazes there are no tricks and no dead ends, nothing to stop you or get in your way.
You can pray silently as you walk, or just listen to the birds.
Did you know that labyrinths are popping up everywhere, even at public schools and businesses? People find that walking them brings them peace. I think it's the God connection.
There are all kinds out there.
Ones made of sticks.
Flickr photo by jonnybaker
Or lavender. Imagine that sweet smell!
Flickr photo by Call me Koko
Here's one in Derbyshire, UK.
Flickr photo by zoreil
And another at Land's End in San Francisco.
Flickr photo by SFHandyman
Apparently even dogs enjoy labyrinths.
Flickr photo by tortuga del desierto
You can even build a labyrinth in your backyard.
Flickr photo by N. J.
What? You have no backyard? How about this finger labyrinth I found HERE at etsy? Just trace your pointer around the path.
Photo by GoldenLightCeramics
I read about classrooms in which teachers gave school kids finger labyrinths to use at their desks whenever they felt anxious. Don't laugh! Have you tried walking a labyrinth? I bet it would calm me down before a test!
So, would you like to hear the rest of the story?
Our fourth graders LOVED the labyrinth. We walked it, joyously (ten year olds are joyous any time they get to go outside!) and when we came back to the classroom and asked them to reflect, they blew us away with their wisdom.
A few quotes:
How is a labyrinth like life?
"Life can be tough. You have to keep going, and you will find your way."
"Sometimes you think you're lost but you're not really because God is always with you. Nobody or nothing can stop you from going to God."
"Nobody can stop you from being happy." "Only you can stop yourself."
How this gives me hope!
Maybe that's why I like this.
Photo by carlygoss.etsy.com
Find it HERE.
Have a wonder-full Wednesday, y'all!
Enjoy the bird's eye view of some labyrinth walkers.
Peace to you!