BIBLICAL? CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER AND LABYRINTHS???!!!
This labyrinth is not the one from Greek mythology, but made to look like the Cross, with four quadrants. The ancient Incas had fire altars in the middle of their labyrinths...and you know why!
What is it with some who profess Christianity in the US and their fascination with Labyrinths? As if forays into Eastern mysticism, “Christian” yoga, Tau crosses and the like are not enough, there seems to be increasing interest in the ancient Labyrinths as a tool for “contemplative prayer”.
By the way, contemplative prayer borders on mysticism and has Zen Buddhist characteristics…the opposite of Biblical Christianity. This is a controversial statement and will get me a lot of flack, but popular female speaker/author Beth Moore is fast becoming the leading proponent of this type of unbiblical “centering prayer”. This is a topic for another time.
There is a connection between contemplative prayer and the labyrinth, which has pagan origins. Just briefly, here are the facts on these origins. According to Wikipedia and other sources “The first labyrinth originated in Greek mythology, where it was an elaborate structure constructed for KingMinosofCreteand designed by the legendary artificerDaedalusto hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and which was eventually killed by the Athenian heroTheseus. Theseus was aided byAriadne, who provided him with a fateful thread to wind his way back again, a clue to the single path of the labyrinth.Labyrinths were also used as spiritual aides in ancient Egypt, Peru, and India”.
This could only work with the heretical practice of contemplative prayer. Here are the accepted guidelines for what they called “centering prayer” which accompanies the labyrinth walker in his/her journey to who know where:
This is the Zen or New Age version of the labyrinth.
Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s Presence and Action within.
Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s Presence and action within.
When engaged with our thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
Does anyone see the Name of Jesus Christ here??!!! And how did this pagan thing creep into western Christendom. Actually it was somewhat innocent at first (to be kind). During the Crusades, it became unsafe (and too expensive) for folks to make Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. So the Roman Church sent up labyrinths in the Notre Dame Cathedral in France etc and divided the pagan concept into Four Quadrants to resemble a Cross. That way, the person who is praying could experience the never-ending path of Grace to and from the center of the labyrinth.
Locally, there are two labyrinths – the Unitarian assembly close to Toronto Road and Jubilee Farm in Berlin, Illinois. The one church that had a labyrinth INSIDE of its building was the now-defunct Judson Baptist Church in Chatham. This is now, fittingly, a hindu temple!
Mystic writer on new age spirituality Richard Foster
The purpose of this brief introduction to the deception of those who promote labyrinths and contemplative prayer as a way to “feel closer to God” is to get concerned Christians thinking, researching, reading and investigating like the Bereans to what the Word of God – THE BIBLE – says and demands on these things. The shocking list of modern church celebrities who are promoting this type of “praying” is stunning. It is not just Beth Moore, whose materials will never appear in my house anymore. Max Lucado, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster head up a list people along with the magazine Christianity Today that are leading star-struck Christians down the wrong garden path!
Finally, one does not need to center (or work) oneself into “engaging with my thoughts”. A real and truly transformed Christian already has the Holy Spirit of Christ living in us, and need nothing more than total surrender to His Will, His Word and His Work. For the man and woman of God – so you wish to get closer to God? Well go to Psalm 1…and contemplate that! Amein.