Lessons from a ‘Christian’ Labyrinth, Part 2
by Pastor Gene
There is no question that the most famous labyrinth to be found in a church is the one built into the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. It was created by stones set carefully into the floor of the cathedral’s nave. And yet, while it’s the world’s most recognized path, it’s shrouded in mystery. Why does it even exist? Why is it in a church? How was it used by Christians? The truth is, no one knows for sure why it was built or how it was used.
Yesterday I shared three lessons that I think we can take away from this puzzling artifact of Church history. Here are a few more …
#4. We are continually moving, but God is not. God, represented by the labyrinth’s center, is always steadfast and immovable.
This reminds us of Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
And Malachi 3:6a: “For I the Lord do not change …”
And James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
Thank God that in this world of ever-shifting sands He never moves! That means we can trust Him to be faithful in all that He’s promised to do.
#5. We walk by faith, not by sight. Were you to walk one of these church labyrinths, you’d see that just before the path turns, you can’t see where the next leg of the journey is leading until you actually make the turn. That’s because just before you turn the next part of the path is at your back.
I think this is a beautiful picture of 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” We never know what’s waiting for us around the next bend, but we do know that God is with us and He is faithful!
And, finally, #6. This present journey is preparing us for eternity with God. It is no accident that the exact number of stones used to construct the Chartres labyrinth is the equal to the number of days a child spends in his/her mother’s womb.
“In this way,” says Chanoine Francois Legaux, the Cathedral’s dean, “Chartres Cathedral shows man that the life he spends on this earth, is a gestation – a preparation for his life in Heaven. So, the first lesson of the Cathedral is a spiritual one.”
Before we were born on that day which we celebrate as our ‘birthday,’ God was already preparing us for our life on earth. The Psalmist put it this way …
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! …
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
(Psalm 139:1, 13-18a)
Oh yes, while we were yet unborn, God was already preparing us for our arrival! And in a similar way, He is using this present journey to prepare us for another arrival – our arrival in Heaven!
Paul longed for this Heaven! He wrote, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).
Little by little, day by day, God is working to make us more like Jesus – more humble, more forbearing, more forgiving, lavishing love even upon those who deserve it the least.
We’re getting ready to go to the place He’s prepared for us (John 14:1).
This journey through the labyrinth of the Christian life is getting us ready for something truly amazing. We need to continue to “abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28).
But imagine, John continues, “what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are! … Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).
Looking toward that day when I shall “see Him as He is” should lead me to prepare my heart for it, for “everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as He is pure.”
Oh wow. I’m exhausted with wonder!
To consider …
- Is the fact that God does not change a comfort to you? How so?
How would your walk be different if you couldn’t count on Him to be immovable?
- Consider the many twists and turns we encounter on our Christian journey. We never know what’s waiting for us around the next bend.
How does Paul’s insistence that “we walk by faith, not by sight” speak to this?
What does “we walk by faith, not by sight” mean in real-time and space?
How do we live out this truth?
- In what ways is God preparing you for eternity?
Do you sense Him purifying you?
Can you see growth in your spiritual life that is measurable? Victories, perhaps, that would have been defeats a year ago?
Do you feel that you’re becoming more like Jesus with respect to humility, and patience, and love, and the desire to forgive?
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With each passing year I long for Him with greater fervency. Little by little, He wrestles me free from the strait jackets of worldliness, materialism, and people-pleasing. In a very real sense He is readying me for eternity with Him. He also nurtures within my heart an increasing eagerness and deep longing for the sinless setting of Heaven. Until I see Him face to face, I continue glean in His field rich for the harvest, knowing I am seen and beloved by Him forever!
I LOVE the fact that our Father never changes. It gives me great comfort. I know who he is, I know what he expects, I love that we know how much he loves us, no matter what, but I love that we know what brings joy to him as well. Oh, how I long to make my father “proud” of me. How I want to make him “happy” with the decisions that I make and the path that I walk.
I am greatly comforted by the fact that our immovable God stands at the center of the labyrinth and, at the end of my earthly journey to him, beckoning me. With open arms he calls, “keep coming, my beloved, keep coming!” Unlike the maze there at no dead ends, no roadblocks placed by my Savior, only by my flesh. I am learning to walk by faith daily, listening for that call to keep coming! How I long to RUN straight into his arms….but must trust his leading day by day instead knowing that he is making me ready to see him as he is!
I think that as a child I felt insignificant or invisible and so as an adult i have to catch myself trying to make sure that I’m not. (Pride)! I’m trying to keep the focus on : as I decrease Christ increases in me! I agree with Anne, that I want to just run into Gods arms right now! I too am thankful that he doesn’t put up roadblocks rather he walks with me around them sometimes straight through them. But there is never a detour in my life that he has not allowed for my greater good. I love the point pastor made that we are really being prepared on this earth for our next life. For the longest time I didn’t have my sights on heaven… but now I find myself as I age looking more and more forward to my eternal home in heaven! I’m very thankful I have a reserved spot at His table! I thought of the words to the hymn ( as I read this) The Solid Rock- “on Christ the solid rock we stand all other ground is shifting sand. All other ground is shifting sand.”
As I move on the labyrinth road, as all the comments and PG’s message stated, that path is traveled by faith, and by faith there has to be obedience. Obedience that is intentional for the two can never be separated without the risk of being detoured off the path. That is the goal of the world, the flesh and the devil, 1 John 2:15-17. This reminds me of the chorus of an old hymn, ” Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Consider the apostle Paul’s words in 2 Cor. 7:1, ” Since we these promises beloved,( 6:14-18), let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” No amount of service will offset disobedience and clinging to our agenda from short circuiting our fellowship with the Lord. In other words, God cannot be bribed or manipulated and continue to bless us with His peace and joy.