What is a Labyrinth in the Christian life?

The Labyrinth is a path resembling a way taken to prayerfully attempt to connect with God. Labyrinths are set using ancient, sacred geometry. A labyrinth has no dead ends like a maze. If you follow the path you will always end up at the center or at the entrance. Labyrinth-like patterns have been uncovered by archaeologists in a great variety of ancient and contemporary cultures.

The Labyrinth pattern predates Christianity by at least a millennium and were rooted in paganism for at least 3,500 years. Evidence of ancient labyrinths exists in North America, Scandinavia, Crete, Italy, and Egypt.

The Catholic churches used the labyrinth for prayer and meditation as early as 350 AD. In Christian history and practice, the labyrinth is most famously associated with Chartres Cathedral (pro. SHAR-tra) in France, where an eleven-circuit labyrinth was inlaid into the floor of the sanctuary in the thirteenth century. It was historically used as a way of symbolically participating in the great pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

In the past decade, there has been a rise in these pagan practices in the Emergent Church, the New Age movement, and neo-pagans circles. These groups promote the mystical ascension using spiritual formation techniques to salvation and enlightenment. One of its advocators, is Dr. Lauren Artress, president of Veriditas, who teaches that the seeking of answers to human questions is found in the act of walking a sacred path and that when we walk the labyrinth, we discover our sacred inner space.

Prayer labyrinths are not found or taught in the Bible. True believers of God should worship Him in the Spirit and by faith (Psalm 29:2; John 4:24; Philippians 3:3) and not through material bodily exercises (five senses). The Bible teaches clearly that prayer and meditation should not be a ceremonial duty done in a ritualistic format (Matthew 15:3; Mark 7:6-13).

Further, the Bible doesn’t teach that man should look within himself to find God as is taught in mysticism and esoteric forms of worship. Man is sinful and there is nothing good in him (Romans 3:23). Instead, man should look to God for salvation (John 14:6).

The Labyrinth rituals are not Biblical but are taught in the Gnosticism and the New age beliefs. Man doesn’t need to practice mysticism to develop a relationship with God for the Lord is a prayer away (Psalm 145:18; Acts 17:27). Jesus Himself taught us that man can reconnect with God only through His Word (2 Timothy 3:15-17) and humble prayer (John 14:13).

The Lord warns us not to be entangled with pagan practices saying, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Therefore, the believers need to steer away from all the ritualistic practices, pagan beliefs, human traditions, and materialistic habits which divert them from Jesus Christ the rock of the Christian faith.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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