The Christ Church Labyrinth
What is a Labyrinth?
Labyrinths are ancient. Pre-Christian cultures used them for a variety of purposes. In the Middle Ages, Christians began using labyrinths as an aid to meditation and prayer. A labyrinth in this tradition consists of a paved or worn path that leads the person walking it, sometimes called a pilgrim, along a winding journey to a center point and then back out again. It is not a maze. A pilgrim cannot get lost in a labyrinth. In many ways, this reflects the spiritual journey we all take through life. Our path may take twists and turns, but we believe that if we stay on the path, we will come to our destination.
How to Walk the Labyrinth
The Labyrinth at Christ Church, Blacksburg, is built in the style of the most famous Christian labyrinth in Chartres, France. Walking the labyrinth is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. Begin at the beginning. Take your time. It is not a race. There is no need to hurry. Some pilgrims pray as they walk the labyrinth. Some recite familiar prayers, similar to praying the Rosary. Others use free-form conversational prayer. Still others just welcome the silence. Upon reaching the center, many pilgrims choose to linger there before following the path back out.
The History of our Labyrinth
In 2007 Episcopal Relief and Development reached out to Christ Church in the wake of the Virginia Tech mass shooting on April 16th. In a first-ever grant given to a “disaster site” that didn’t need food, clothing or shelter, the purpose of the grant was to help the Christ Church family and, through us, the entire Blacksburg community, take steps along the road to healing. Interest began to grow in creating a space at Christ Church to offer a contemplative retreat for prayer and healing, one that would not just benefit our parish, but the entire community and diocese. Through many months of planning and hard work, volunteers from the parish and the community came together to make the Labyrinth at Christ Church a reality.
The Labyrinth Garden
We offer this labyrinth as a place of peace and healing. This is why we have placed it in a garden setting. We welcome you to rest on the benches, enjoy the beauty of the life around you, both green and winged. May you take the peace of this place with you as your path leads you back once again into the world.