Unwinding the labyrinth

Posted: August 30, 2010 in labyrinths
Tags: , , ,

People walking the labyrinth

The rise of mystical practices continue to wind themselves into  churches.  It was king Solomon who stated that there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecc 1:9 The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.

We have seen these mystical things before but in recent years there seems to be a new thirst for them.  They are presented sometimes as new revelation, but there is nothing new about them.  They entice people to participate as if God himself ordained them.  A new approached to finding God.  But the simple truth is that they are not new and they are not ordained by God.  The new is in fact the old.  Practices which were once shrouded in superstition and ignorance by monks and priests in the middle ages.  Ignorance of the truth made them popular but they were also fruitless.  This is just one of these superstitious relics of the middle ages.

Walking the labyrinth

In a film called Luther which depicted the  life of Martin Luther and what we now know as the Reformation.  There is one scene were the pilgrims are all lined up to kneel and pray as they climb a flight of stairs.  They are told that each step on their knees would diminish the time their loves ones would spent in purgatory.  A privilege they had to pay for.  Luther’s eyes were opened to the fruitlessness of this type of work based practice.  The sad tragedy is that many churches who have come to embrace the same mentality today.  The secret as to how Martin Luther had his eyes open was the reading of the scriptures.  Where the word is lacking superstition and ignorance flourishes.

The labyrinth is an ancient practice that pre-dates Christianity. It is not a maze but a unicursal path that winds in towards the centre of the circle and then winds its way out. The belief is that as you walk this path towards the center you will come closer to God. It is essentially contemplative prayer while walking. Another non-scriptural practice.

According to Wikipedia, the labyrinth was an elaborate structure constructed for King Minos (a legendary king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa) and designed by the legendary artificer Daedalus to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull, who was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. Theseus was aided by Ariadne, who provided him with a fateful thread to wind his way back again, a clue to the single path of the labyrinth.

Dr. Lauren Artress, author of Walking a Sacred Path Episcopal priest, and a psychotherapistst,:

Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool who serves as a Canon at Grace Cathedral Church, states that “Labyrinths are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, find balance, and encourage meditation, insight and celebration. They are open to all people as a non-denominational, cross-cultural tool of well-being.”

On Artress’ website, the introduction to the practice reads:

“There are many ways to pray. And each world religion — whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu — has slightly different variations. However, there is a common core that unites these traditions: The mind has to quiet, the heart hopefully opens and we can listen to and respond from the deepest inner most part of ourselves that knows Wisdom.

It is believed that this pagan practice entered the church during the Middle Ages. There were many Christians who wished to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem but did not wish to risk their lives during the long dangerous journey during the Crusades. Walking the labyrinth was used as a substitute. I decided to make the pilgrimage to a labyrinth myself. I searched the web and was surprised to find local labyrinth locations. Who knew I could find God at Como Park in St. Paul? Just my luck there was already a long line of pilgrims ahead of me when I arrived. This might take longer than I thought. I wondered if God would validate my parking ticket. There were two women standing in line ahead of me. I asked why there were so many people here. She explained it was a church sponsored event and they all came together on the bus. She then asked if I needed instruction and handed me a leaflet. It described the steps this way:Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind. Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like.

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

So by simply walking around in a circle this is  meant to bring WISDOM ILLUMINATION AND MAKE ONE CLOSER TO GOD.

Where have I heard those words before?

Gen 3:6   And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Man has always desired wisdom and illumination but seldom do they hope to find such things in the place where God himself tells us to look…. The Bible

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

This is where real wisdom and illumination comes from.  We  are never encouraged to take up mystical practices of  so-called sacred walks.  The fact that the author Dr Lauren Artress recognises that the practice is pagan makes one wonder what she actually believes.  For in reality she is participating in a pagan practice.  The main stay for many is that this practice produces an experience.  Today experience has become everything.  The end justifies the means.  It does not matter if it is pagan , Biblical or even satanic so long as it produces an experience.  Because for many  experience trumps the Bible  and truth becomes whatever you want it to be.  Mysticism is the key and everyone becomes his own judge as to what is right or wrong.  Many religions and eastern practices produce peace and even ecstatic experiences but there theology is unbiblical.  But to the new mystics so long as the practice has been stamped with the label “Holy Spirit” or “God” then its acceptable.  The blind leading the blind and eventually both will fall into the pit.  We might have some sympathy for those poor wretches who felt the need to try to in grace themselves to God  by climbing up a flight of stairs on their knees because they had no access to the Bible, But today we have no excuse.  We have an abundance of Bibles and yet people refuse to read them.  We have the word before us but few can understand it.  We have an abundance of commentaries and online information but few bother to look.  Ignorance and superstition follows when men willingly reject the Bible.

Hsa 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

People are destroyed not just because they lack the knowledge but because they must first reject that knowledge.  Because they reject Gods word which would make them wise unto salvation they will inevitable be destroyed in their ignorance. People who feel drawn into mysticism and practices which lie outside of scripture must inevitable reject the true knowledge of God.

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