“The labyrinth is an ancient Christian metaphor for life. The Christian life is often described as a pilgrimage or journey with God. In life, as with the labyrinth, we don’t always know where the path will take us, what twists and turns the future holds, but we trust that the path will arrive at the center, to God.”
That is how the Rev. Celeste Lasich, pastor at First Presbyterian Church, describes the motivation behind the labyrinth her church has constructed in its narthex. The narthex is located just inside the front doors of the church at 2900 Hall.
Lasich invites members of the public, as well as her congregation, to make use of the labyrinth as they prepare for Easter Sunday.
Lasich said, “Sometimes people will use the terms ‘labyrinth’ and ‘maze’ interchangeably, when in fact, they are quite different. A maze is a puzzle that has to be solved. It may have many entrances and exits, dead ends and tricks, and it is a task that requires logical, analytical thinking to decipher.
“A labyrinth, on the other hand, has only one path,” she said. “It engages our symbolic mind and is representative of our life’s journey. There are no blind alleys or false leads, no puzzle to figure out. There is only one path that leads you to the center, and that same path leads you back out again. Walking the labyrinth can be approached in many ways.”
Lasich encourages participants to “walk comtemplatively — that is, walk slowly, and notice what you are experiencing, thinking, sensing and feeling as you walk. Pray a prayer, or meditate on a question, or recite a scripture verse, or just walk in silence. When you reach the center, take time to rest in the Lord’s presence, with thanksgiving. When you are ready, leave by retracing your route. You may use a different prayer, scripture or question as you go out.”
In addition to the labyrinth, the church is offering interactive Stations of the Cross in the sanctuary.
Becky Rogowski, Generations in Faith Together coordinator, says, “We decided to do the hands-on Stations of the Cross because we feel that people experience things in a variety of ways — some people learn by hearing, some by seeing, and others by doing.
“Lent is a journey,” Rogowski added. “The Stations of the Cross are designed to take people through Holy Week in a way they've probably not experienced it before. It goes beyond sitting in the pews and hearing the stories or even taking the Bible and reading them first-hand. The hands-on experience exceeds what you might get from watching a passion movie, as well.”
Rogowski said the stations are child-friendly, though a child’s understanding of Holy Week will be different than an adult's.
“Each person will experience the stations to a different degree depending on where a person is at on their own personal faith journey.”
Each station of the cross incorporates a visual piece, but each station is also designed to actively engage the participant with a piece of the Biblical text for Holy Week. The text is split into eight parts, so there are eight stations.
“Participants are free to go at their own pace and can go in the order they choose, though the story progresses from station one to station eight. It is meant to be personal and self-guided,” Rogowski said.
Printouts are posted at each station
The labyrinth and Stations of the Cross are available from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Thursday of this week and from noon to 3 p.m. Friday. Church staff will also be available during these times.
Rogowski noted this is the church’s first year to offer a labyrinth, so the staff is anxious to get the public’s reaction to it.
“In the spirit of being a cross-generational body of Christ, we wanted to do something for Holy Week that would appeal to all ages and yet have the ability for the experience to be meaningful in a variety of ways,” she said.