Praying in a circle, we sang praise songs in Russian before entering the five circuit Chartres-style masking tape labyrinth for our prayer walk. The intentionality of these first-time labyrinth walkers moved me deeply. The seminary students read their Bibles (Psalm 66 for instance), sang, stood in one place for many minutes with hands raised in prayer or crossed over their hearts, walked silently, or moved while praying in quiet voices. No one seemed hurried. When finished, people sat on wooden benches facing the labyrinth, silently witnessing others, reflecting on the experience, or continuing their prayer in song or words. The depth of our communal prayer felt palpable. Afterwards, we shared the feelings, images, experiences, and thoughts that had emerged and how they mirrored other experiences in our lives. What a joy and privilege it is to introduce this spiritual tool around the world and witness God’s love touching people in so many varied and meaningful ways.
Please note that many of the eighteen students have been removed from these photos as their images could put them at risk of religious persecution in their home countries. Walkers from the Ukraine, U.S., Russia, and four central asian countries spent an hour sharing this experience.