This past Tuesday we had a staff retreat at a local Jesuit retreat center. Like many similar places they had a prayer labyrinth available for people to walk and pray. During a time where we broke off as individuals, I took time to walk and pray. Every time I pray a labyrinth, I have a different experience for the most part but there is a commonality in a few of the thoughts that float through my heart and mind as I walk.
As I walk into the labyrinth, the path leads almost immediately right along the center. It’s almost like being teased about getting to the end right as I begin. As the walk continues, I stay near the center but eventually the loops and paths take me further and further from the center. The stretches without turning grow longer as hey stretch further around the outside. And then eventually comes a return to the center and this time the blessing of being able to enter into the center and come to rest.
Psalm 20 is a beautiful psalm that speaks of God’s presence, protection, and care. It is one of those songs that easily “works” when things are good – like being close to the center of the labyrinth. However, times come when we don’t feel close to the center and it is harder for this psalm to be more than just words.
What the labyrinth speaks to me is that no matter where I am on the oath, I’m still walking and I’m still praying. Whether I’m right by the center or far from it, I’m still on the path. This Psalm speaks similarly to me – no matter what’s happening, I’m still on the path.
May the Lord answer you when you are in trouble;
may the God of Jacob make you secure!
May he send you help from his temple;
from Zion may he give you support!
May he take notice of your offerings;
may he accept your burnt sacrifice! (Selah)
May he grant your heartʼs desire;
may he bring all your plans to pass!
Then we will shout for joy over your victory;
we will rejoice in the name of our God!
May the Lord grant all your requests!
Now I am sure that the Lord will deliver his chosen king;
he will intervene for him from his holy heavenly temple,
and display his mighty ability to deliver.
Some trust in chariots and others in horses,
but we depend on the Lord our God.
They will fall down,
but we will stand firm.
The Lord will deliver the king;
he will answer us when we call to him for help!