Labyrinth at Burnet church offers peaceful reflection as Easter approaches
DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
BURNET — Even though modern conveniences such as smartphones, the Internet and tablet computers have created new ways to interact and share information — something many churches have embraced — sometimes, we still need to return to “the old” ways to reflect on our relationship with God, especially as Easter approaches.
One of those traditions includes a journey through a labyrinth, or quite simply, a maze. The Church at the Epicenter members are offering such an experience to not only the congregation but to the community April 16-18.
“We thought it would be an interesting and meaningful event for members of the congregation and our community in the lead-up to Easter, which is one of the most important celebrations for all Christians,” said the Rev. Kyle Byrd of the Church at the Epicenter. “It’s very individual. There is no conversation, no groups go through together unless a family choses to do it together. People progress through at their own pace, and there are stops where they have to stop and reflect.”
The reflection part gives walkers a chance to feel the presence of God in his or her life and examine where he or she is in a relationship with Jesus. For some, the journey is quite celebratory; for others, it can open up the opportunity to take a deeper and more meaningful walk with Jesus.
“When they have experienced the journey through the labyrinth, they come out with a clear understanding where they are with God,” Byrd said. “Every year, we see a gamut of emotions as people exit the labyrinth from crying to rejoicing.”
The labyrinth used as a Christian walk dates to the 17th century, when the Cathedrals of Paris first began offering them to followers who weren’t physically able to make annual pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Byrd said the church wanted something to offer those Christians from which they could still benefit with quiet reflection and prayer. As pilgrims journeyed to the Holy Land, they would take time along the way to examine their lives and relationships with Jesus.
The labyrinth offers the same opportunity through a series of stations, Byrd explained. As a walker enters the labyrinth, a church member will hand him or her a handout explaining the tradition and the 12 stations the pilgrim will encounter along the way. Those stations offer moments of reflection and prayer.
“People who enter the labyrinth usually start with a question or a few questions on their mind,” Byrd said. “As they engage the labyrinth, they will engage it with the question or questions as they stop and reflect. The hope is that God will give them the direction they need by the time they leave the labyrinth.”
The Church at the Epicenter labyrinth has 12 stations with the main one being the Holy of Holys, a self-paced, self-administered Lord’s Supper.
“They’ll step in, sit down, and there will be a video message,” Byrd said. “And then, they will partake in the body of Christ and the blood of Christ. It’s a very intense and reflective moment.”
While labyrinths can be used throughout the year, Byrd said the church specifically chose to offer this one in the days before Easter. It’s an opportunity for people to prepare for the resurrection, Byrd said.
Much like Main Street Bethlehem hosted by First Baptist Church of Burnet has grown into a Christmas tradition for many people, Byrd hopes the Church at the Epicenter’s labyrinth becomes a similar experience in the lead-up to Easter.
The labyrinth is open 6-9 p.m. each day. It closes at 9 p.m., but anybody in the labyrinth at that time will be allowed to finish. The journey is completely self-paced.
“Some people take 30 minutes to go through it, while others take two hours,” Byrd said. “It’s a very intimate 12-place journey.”
The church is located at 2401 U.S. 281 North in Burnet. Go to www.churchattheepicenter.org or call (512) 756-9439 for more information. Admission is free.