Lenten Labyrinth

In Churches all over the city on Wednesday, the beginning of Lent was marked by signs and symbols of public devotion. As a child this was always a time of conflicting angst and anticipation, as the bleak significance of 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness was offset by the reward of Easter Sunday with all it’s bounty. This year, St Paul’s Chapel is providing a thoughtful Lenten activity for those who have travelled to NYC and are interested to journey a little further.

The chapel has replicated a labyrinth embedded in the stone entrance of an old cathedral in Chartres, France, laying out the same puzzle with perhaps the same invitation. With the pews removed, the chapel is like a grand reception hall, open to people from around the world – many who are visiting NYC for the first time. On each Sunday during lent, everyone is invited to walk the labyrinth and to reflect on the pilgrimage of their life.

The Chapel, being part of Trinity Church, is a New York City landmark. Anyone who has seen photographs of 9/11 will have seen the magnificent spires of the church rising perfectly intact above the destruction, and it’s historic graveyard covered in debris. Fireman and police collapsed with exhaustion in the church pews, and souls from much earlier times, disturbed of their rest in the yard, were also brought inside. As a result, in the course of negotiating the maze today I was able to share a moment with David McKean who in 1795 was lost to the world ‘in the midst of his usefulness’. Fantastic. Maybe at the time he was leading others through a similar labyrinth, enabling the transformational experience eventually penned by T S Eliot, where we can ‘arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’…

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4 Responses to Lenten Labyrinth

  1. Marion Kruger says:

    Another gem, thank you Fitzy

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Jenny says:

    Thanks Fitzy. The Chapel is a beautiful place, and now it’s partly the site of a Memorial it is very moving. I really liked seeing George Washington’s Pew and the story of how it was used by podiatrists to help the rescue workers after 9/11.

  3. Hi Gabrielle Listened to your report this morning for the first time since returning from overseas. Really enjoyed it as usual. Looking forward to catching up with you when you are home next?? Love Pat & Denis Port Lincoln SA

  4. pekolo65 says:

    Hi Fitzy,
    There is a (permanent)labyrinth like this outside the Children’s Hospital in Westmead, Sydney. It is an exact size replica of the one in Chartres (c.13th Century). It serves as a therapeutic aid – mindfulness, relaxation etc.

    Rgds
    Peter

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