“‘For surely I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Before I share this week’s post, I want to update a previous entry called “A Biblical Worldview?” with this quote from Peter Rollins, described as a “prominent figure in the Emergent church movement in the United Kingdom.” Rollins observes: “The Bible is not some simple creed. It’s not a worldview that opposes other worldviews. It’s something that brings life, that brings transformation. I think that this understanding of faith  resonates with people who are tired of a religion in which believing the right thing is what it’s all about” (“Seeds of Doubt,” The Christian Century, June 2, 2009: 20).

Now to more reflections on/from the labyrinth at the Mercy Center in St. Louis.chartres

When I entered the labyrinth, I thought I would have an easy time getting to the center. Wrong! Even though a labyrinth is not a maze, it does contain switchbacks, turns, ins and outs. I was led by the path all the way out to the edge, then in toward the center only to be forced outward again by the configuration of the circle.

The medium was the message. The labyrinth is made in such a way as to remind seekers that life is not an easy path. Yes, we ultimately come to our destination, but not without work or sorrow or hardship. We do not achieve enlightenment of the spirit without discipline, practice, and thought on difficult questions. As the very honest title of my college French text promised, we will learn, but “non sans travail” (“not without work”).  

God leads us into his purpose for our lives, but like the labyrinth, through many twists and turns, to the edge and back, through doubt, despair, even suffering and grief. But lead us he does into the center of his will, the shalom only he can give.

© 2009 Tom Cheatham