Over the summer holidays we have been working on a revised format for the weekly musings and news mail out. You will find current musings and anything urgent below and a monthly news-sheet Newssheet_September online… paper copies of this will also be available in church for newcomers and those who don’t receive the e-mail.
Urgent: The Council of Anglican & Episcopal Churches in Germany (CAECG) will be meeting in Stuttgart from 13-15th September. Help is needed with catering / other tasks – speak to Naomi, Alison, Renate, Eric or Kara please or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
CHAPLAIN’S MUSINGS 260819
Recently I had the opportunity to take a couple of our young people, who are at a ‘place of change’ in their lives, to the labyrinth in Hohenheim.
Briefly, labyrinths are NOT mazes. Mazes are for entertainment and often found in private parks. The fun lying in getting lost, or not, and in the dead-ends that add to the confusion (though I also know of those who have been really frightened by the claustrophobia of perhaps not getting out, especially if the walls / hedges are high).
In contrast, a labyrinth, although it can come in lots of different shapes and sizes, has One way in and One way out. As such since pre-classical times (2500+ years ago) they have represented, or been a metaphor for, the journey of life. More recently, they have been adopted by faith communities (not just Christians) as a metaphor for the spiritual life. They are also increasingly used by universities and hospitals for mental health support. I have used them frequently in a variety of ways and contexts with people.
Back to the visit to Hohenheim. The Hohenheim labyrinth is made of lavender and the first time I found it (more than a year ago) I found too the group of volunteers who maintain it. At that time the lavender was covered with white butterflies who didn’t seem to mind me walking it. I used it then to pray myself into my new ministry here in Stuttgart. The path on the recent visit was harder to make out because the lavender is not in flower at the moment. Here is what I invited the young people at a ‘place of change’ to do –
As you walk the path In towards the centre – allow your memories to collect around: all the things in life that led you to this point: study, support of family, opportunities, …
When you get to the centre: stop and give thanks for all those things, events and people.
As you walk the path Out – allow your mind and heart to float to the surface the ‘now’: anxiety about employment security, financial worries, decisions to make, circumstances not in your control, people, relationships…
As they walked the labyrinth I held them both in prayer.
Talking over coffee to one or two others, it emerged that this is a trip that could be repeated many times. At best in small groups. Labyrinths can also be offered as a workshop indoors for those who are not so mobile – I have a finger Labyrinth.
Suitable for the intrigued, for anyone facing change or decisions – not only for themselves, but perhaps for someone else.
If this might be something for you let me know…..