applying some thought, imagination, and creative intention to spiritual growth

Brothers and sisters, we have confidence that we can enter the holy of holies by means of Jesus’ blood, through a new and living way that he opened up for us through the curtain, which is his body, and we have a great high priest over God’s house. Therefore, let’s draw near with a genuine heart with the certainty that our faith gives us, since our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies are washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:19-22

– author Derek Maul lives, prays, and writes in North Carolina

This morning’s Saturday men’s group meeting was another excellent study around faith and discipleship. We had a “pre-Lent” conversation where we talked about some of the spiritual practices that might facilitate growth for us as we continue the lifelong spiritual journey we are all navigating.

I shared a little about my experience walking a “Labyrinth,” and my dream of one day seeing a full-sized, permanent installation at our church as we continue to develop the WFPC campus as a place where people are invited to experience God in many different ways.

I have to admit that for most of my life I was skeptical and dismissive, throwing labyrinths in with what I would label “woo-woo” or “New Age” spirituality, along with angels and beads and prayer shawls.

Lake Junaluska:

– labyrinth at Lake Junaluska

Then, one afternoon walking around the Lake at Junaluska when I was a guest speaker at “Soul Feast”, I wandered into a simply designed grass labyrinth and found myself immersed in unanticipated deep prayer and personal reflection. Since then I have repeated the experience several times and have never been disappointed.

Three of the most meaningful labyrinths – to me – are Lake Junaluska‘s invitational design, the Camp CedarKirk layout near Brandon, Florida (designed by one of our youth, Shelby Dale), and the impressively grand example of religious landscape architecture featured at the Warren Willis Conference Center, alongside Lake Griffin, also in Florida.

The Camp Warren Willis example is of a large enough scale to facilitate a reasonable stroll, featuring hedgerows around the circuitous path, benches with inscribed scriptures at every turn, and room to accommodate many people at one time.

“A long squiggly line”

– pastor John teaching about the Labyrinth

One year we even emptied our sanctuary at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, bringing in a temporary labyrinth that proved a valuable spiritual discipline for those who participated.

So why all this enthusiasm around what is – essentially – more or less a long squiggly line?

Finding our Sacred Rhythm:

Well I am guessing you have already noticed my constant reference to this life of following Jesus as “a journey”? To me, carefully and meditatively making my way around a labyrinth, intentionally focused on my step-by-step commitment to God, is not only a microcosm of my journey but a spiritual discipline that serves to pave the way.

There is what I like to call “a sacred rhythm” to our life as Christians. We can either walk to the cadence of the Spirit, or we can stumble along without the unifying, strengthening, purposeful influence of God from day to day.

A focused attention to meditation, prayer, and – most of all – listening is not easy to achieve. The labyrinth can be a useful learning tool along the way.

Peace – and patience – DEREK

Bible disciple-making faith The Church

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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