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Posted: April 19, 2021

Take a Spiritual Pilgrimage through a Labyrinth

An ancient part of the Christian faith is going on pilgrimages. Christian pilgrims would travel for days or more to reach holy sites in cities like Jerusalem and Rome where they would offer prayers of thanksgiving, penitence, intercession, and petition. However, there would be times when people couldn’t make pilgrimage for all manner of reasons: wars, disease, lack of funds, trade route closures, the list goes on. With all these interruptions, Christians developed a way to take spiritual pilgrimages without having to travel hundreds (or thousands!) of miles: the Labyrinth.

A labyrinth looks a little like a maze, but with labyrinths there is only one way in and one way out. This is because labyrinths are not for getting physically lost in but for taking spiritual journeys. In the same way that people would bring different sorts of intention to geographical pilgrimages the labyrinth invites us to bring an intention with us as we walk through them. We reflect upon and pray over this intention as we journey deeper into the labyrinth, finally reaching its center where we are invited to pause. Then, like the ancient Christian returning home from far away, we travel back out of the labyrinth.

We have a lovely outdoor labyrinth available right here in Richmond at Union Presbyterian Seminary (pictured above, directly across from 3318 Loxley Rd). As the weather continues to warm up consider giving this practice a try. It is a great outdoor spiritual exercise which you can take up alone or with the whole family. For a helpful guide on praying a labyrinth, check out the link below from BuildingFaith, a ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary.

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