The idea of making a pilgrimage has become popular again. Many people now travel to Europe and walk the ancient pilgrim road known as the Camino across Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
Through the ages the church has provided pilgrims with ways of making a pilgrimage while staying at home. This is how stations of the cross began in churches – for pilgrims unable to walk the actual stations in Jerusalem, which had been established in the fourth century.
A labyrinth is another tool for stay at home pilgrims. A labyrinth is not a maze but a path that takes you into the centre and out again. In walking a labyrinth we are invited to let go, to shed thoughts and distractions. It is a time to open the heart and quiet the mind. The centre is a place of meditation and prayer. We receive what there is to receive. As we leave, following the same path out of the centre as we came in, we enter the third stage, which is joining God, and the healing forces at work in the world.
At St Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, we install a labyrinth every Holy Week. It is our way of walking alongside Jesus from Palm Sunday to Good Friday. Jesus asked his disciples to watch and wait with him and we do so by walking.
St Matthew’s is normally a very busy place – lots of weddings, concerts, photo shoots, community events, corporate events. Holy Week is the only week of the year where the building is quiet as people come to walk the labyrinth. It is as if the church itself breathes in and out quietly.
Many walk it who have no particular faith and they are welcome; they use it as a quiet moment in their week.
Check our website for the opening times and come join us on the journey.
I am looking forward to listening to the church breathing in and out quietly as we watch and wait.