As I was praying through the last few steps of the labyrinth, I found that I did not want it to end. (Click here to read earlier entries in this series.) I slowed my pace. I felt myself wanting to sit down and stay there for a bit. I had responsibilities that needed addressing. Staying put was not an option. Even still, I wanted to escape, to avoid those responsibilities. I wanted to enter into some kind of romantic experience with Jesus and just let him continue his work of inner formation of my life.
I realized that it is easier to remain in the tomb with Jesus than to walk with him in the real world. It's easier to escape into our private encounters with Jesus than it is to actually live resurrection at work, with our families, as we talk with neighbors or as we do the mundane stuff that pulls on us everyday. I think this is one of the reasons why we so easily separate the sacred from the secular. A labyrinth experience is a sacred thing. Worship on Sunday is a sacred experience. But when we walk out, we enter into the world of the secular. It's not always clear how the sacred weaves into all of life. It's easier to do the secular stuff and try and find "our best life" in the midst of the secular and then wait to return to get our spiritual fix.
I wanted to hold on to my encounter with God, but if I had done that I would have left my experience of Jesus in the tomb until I could return. A labyrinth has an exit. We enter the labyrinth prayer (or whatever way you might pray) to encounter God, to let go of baggage, to allow the Spirit to transform us and prepare us, but ultimately the labyrinth opens up into the world. Jesus is moving by the Spirit in the world all around us. We pray to have our senses trained so that we can become fully aware of what Jesus is doing and join in.
One final reflection: At the opening of the labyrinth, I realized that it's a lot easier to remain stuck in our questions, in our hangups, in our unknowing, in our inabilities, in our self-doubt—all the stuff that we have to deal with in the loneliness of praying in the tomb (see yesterday's post) than it is to take a risk and walk the journey with Jesus on his mission. We fall in love with the darkness of the tomb and wait for some kind of enlightenment experience that will miraculously pick us up and lead us into the resurrection life. Jesus was risen from the dead by the power of the Spirit, but once the rock was rolled back, he had to put one foot in front of the other. The same is true for us. The rock is rolled back. Resurrection life has been gifted to us. Will we walk out and join Jesus in what he is doing in our world?