Sunday, September 12, 2010

Walking the Labyrinth

Earlier this summer an email arrived reminding me that, as usual, there would be a labyrinth in Gloucester Cathedral in the week before Greenbelt (WHY in the one week of the year when those who most need variety in worship are likely to find their needs wonderfully met only a few miles away?? Not complaining, just wondering...)
What's more, there would be a candle -lit Taize service on the Wednesday night.
But my diary already had a wedding rehearsal so I set the information aside and focussed on the delights of GB to come.
Then the couple asked for a last minute change of rehearsal - clearing the evening so off I went.
And it was quite wonderful.

Torrential rain and inadequate advertising by the Cathedral meant that attendance was sparse - which was undoubtedly frustrating for those who'd put so much into curating but was pure gift for those of us who attended.
Imagine a huge and ancient building cleared of chairs and silent after the bustle of daily visitors.
Imagine that around every corner are works of art, there for an exhibition which is running throughout September...everything from a beautiful fountain to a huge crucifixion, with Christ full of nails - and some extraordinary pterodactyls too....
Imagine a candle lit labyrinth, and the gentle sound of Taize chant.
I started to walk the labyrinth during some singing. That was easy. One foot in front of another, praying through the chant. It seemed strange, though, when silence fell...
I've walked many labyrinths, in hugely different situations - but always with music, if in company....
The business of being attentive to one another, of not impeding another's walk, seemed suddenly very important.
I became conscious of the people sitting in shadows, just beyond the edge of the labyrinth. 
For a while I seemed to have too many feet - or at least, the customary 2 had decided to go their own way, in wilful disobedience. This bothered me.
If I stumbled, would it disturb others.
It seemed that as I travelled, I carried a responsibility for the smooth journey of my fellow pilgrims.
I wondered if this sense was peculiar to ministers - whose daily lives seem sometimes to carry more significance to others than we would ever desire.
But then I reached the centre and knelt, knowing myself surrounded by love and beauty.....and the chant began again
"Bless the Lord my soul.......who leads me into life"

No comments: