Recently, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Sunday School class had a lesson on the labyrinth, the archetypal tool for walking prayer meditation at St. Paul’s Methodist. The presenter led the children in a guided meditation about the love of God for them. She instructed them as they took an in breath to state “I love you” as if God were speaking directly to them giving them the gift of divine love. On their subsequent out breath, they said “I love you” again, but this time as their gift back to God, to one another and to the world.
Then the leader spoke of the experience of the prophet Elijah who encountered God not in noisy things like wind and earthquakes and thunder, but in a still, small, soft voice. To help the students remember God’s abiding, gentle presence, she gave each of them a little cotton ball to carry as they walked the path. To mark that she was praying for them as they walked the labyrinth, she anointed each one with scented oil.
One young boy who had participated in this lessonwas preparing for bed that Sunday evening. His parents have a ritual with him. They ask him to review his day identifying what was the best thing that happened that day and then the worst thing that occurred. This particular night, he blurted out “the best thing was walking the labyrinth. It was so quiet and peaceful.” He continued “when I got to the center, I prayed.” His mom, intrigued by his sincere relaying of the story, said “If you wouldn’t mind telling me, I’d love to know what you prayed for.” He replied “I prayed that God would make me a better person.” ~Gail Williford's Homily for Maundy Thursday, 2009.