WALKING THE LABYRINTH: A Holy Week Feature
From Monday to Thursday in the week leading up to Easter, St Matthew-in-the-City empties the centre of the church and places river rocks in an ancient pattern called a labyrinth. Candles are lit on the outer and inner circles and the labyrinth path that winds its way from one to the other is big enough to allow people to pass each other in comfort and accommodate many people at one time.
A labyrinth is an ancient reflective and contemplative tool used by people from prehistoric and medieval times and has again become popular today. The labyrinth is a physical way to get somewhere different in your thinking and feeling without having to travel great distances. The entry and exit are at the same point and the entire labyrinth can be seen and appreciated by the walker (nothing is hidden) before taking that first step.
The job of the labyrinth is to take the walker from the rush and jumble of everyday life to a quieter place inside oneself. Therefore, the labyrinth is different for each person no matter how often walked or number of people walking within the labyrinth at any one time.
Everyone is invited to come and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the labyrinth and general space no matter what religion, culture or beliefs one holds. Meditative music from many different traditions fills the atmosphere and there are candles provided for people to light on a special table.
On Monday from 6:00pm to 7:00pm [in 2012] St Matthew’s Ensemble will be singing Gregorian chant. Often people like to light a candle after they have walked the labyrinth, while others come to enjoy the space sitting in the seating provided and light a candle as part of that reflective time.
For those having their first experience of a labyrinth information is available at the entrance on how to walk one. People often sit, read this, and watch others before deciding whether to walk.
In 2011 over 4 days 600+ people came throughout the time to sit quietly, light candles and /or walk the labyrinth. Often people returned to re-experience the labyrinth and the meditative atmosphere several times over the week.
The doors open at 10am in the morning and the candles provide the majority of light after dark until 9pm [Note 10 am to 8 pm in 2015]. Everyone is welcome to walk and enjoy the labyrinth during this week.
Corner of Hobson and Wellesley Streets
Availability: temporary labyrinth in Holy Week, from 10 am to 8pm each day
Contact: Annie Mahon
Phone: +64 9 281 4892
Getting there ...
More on this labyrinth ...
This information was for the 2012 Holy Week labyrinth.
Contact the Church for details about future events.
Holy Week at St Matthew's began with building a labyrinth of river stone and candles on Palm Sunday.
Maundy Thursday was celebrated with footwashing. On Good Friday the cross and labyrinth were juxtaposed for contemplation.
On Holy Saturday the The Great Vigil of Easter was celebrated moving from darkness to light. On Easter the cross flowered.
Labyrinth as metaphor ...
Walking the Labyrinth of Faith
"Is this the end or a beginning? Where is God in this moment? How do you keep walking the labyrinth of life, to salvage some remnant of the dream?
For two thousand years Jesus’ followers constructed a religion trying to answer these questions. The path they took looked a lot like a labyrinth."