Integrating the pain of life into the fabric of our existence is one of the important challenges we face collectively and individually. Each of the five times the Chartres Cathedral in France was destroyed, it was rebuilt using the rubble of the previous church as its foundation. The Chartres-style labyrinth on the site of the former St. Luke’s Anglican Church which was weakened and then damaged irreparably in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand exemplifies the honoring of suffering and the hope of new life which can grow despite destruction.
On this site visitors can reflect and pray as they read about the earthquake’s effect on the church, visit the memorial dedicated to the 185 precious lives that were lost during the 2011 earthquake, or move on the labyrinth that was built and dedicated in 2012. It is surrounded by both the remains and reminders of the devastation of the earthquake as well as signs of rebuilding in the neighborhood.
There is a roughness—a rawness to this labyrinth, and sometimes to life. Yet it was very “walkable,” inviting us to continue despite the brokenness beneath our feet and all around.
For more information about this labyrinth see the New Zealand Labyrinth Site and the site’s page on the St. Luke Anglican Labyrinth which includes this bit of history: “Two clubs at the University of Canterbury, the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) and Entré joined forces to ‘make something special for the community, something fun’. The two clubs created a competition to help out in the rebuild of Christchurch. Students were asked ‘what they would do with a vacant plot of land, be creative and make it awesome.’ External judges selected the final six designs and the St. Luke’s labyrinth project was one of the winners.”
We extend our hearts to all those affected by the earthquakes in Christchurch. Although we did not have a chance to share in the life of the St. Luke congregation in worship, we are grateful that we could “walk with them” and those they serve while we prayed on this labyrinth. To see other posts with photos of New Zealand labyrinths: Walking Labyrinths in New Zealand, Walking on Water Labyrinth, Labyrinth Surprise in Auckland, New Zealand, and Labyrinth Walking in Johnsonville, New Zealand.