First Sunday of Advent
Breathing in, I enter the labyrinth.
I’m aware of all the things I’m releasing into the world as the rain gently falls on my head and shoulders: Control. Power. Sadness.
I don’t know why God has called me to walk this serpentine path this morning.
There is so much on my to-do list: people to see, emails to send, projects to finish.
Still, with each step on the path into the center of the labyrinth, I try to breath, try to slow down, try to quiet my mind. My thoughts keep trying to break in, and my soul keeps trying to release everything.
Step by step… in I go.
At the center of the labyrinth, I pause with the group of people I’m walking and praying with. We silently look at the ground, our minds focused on receiving. Our breath mingles, the rain continues to mist around us, the sky turns grey and wet.
As I stare at my feet, I remember what it was like to do a different kind of pilgrimage from the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu in Peru:
At the top of the mountain, my traveling companions and I rested and enjoyed the sun. We’d climbed the Inca Trail as quickly as we could to get to the top and it was good to take a moment to look out across the valley. On the way up, I’d wanted to prove to myself that I was fit enough to climb, and subconsciously I wanted to be the first one to the top to prove that I was more fit than anyone else in our group. What a ridiculous reason to speed up a beautiful mountain. The absurdity hit me as I looked at the sun kissing the valley. I needed to slow down.
I took off my shoes and socks.
We headed down the mountain. My toes helped me find the way to smoother rocks, gingerly avoiding the rough edges. I was slower, choosing carefully where to step, stopping to look at the valley and the trees and the plants. The ground was cool and damp underneath my feet and step by step, we made it to the bottom.
At the center of the labyrinth, I take a deep breath. I reach down and touch the soil and give thanks for the earthy foundation beneath. I accept the peace of slowness as the gift that it is.
I step back into the labyrinth. I breathe again and go into the world.
Today I will choose to slow down. I will choose joy. I will choose God.
Prayer: In this season of waiting, it is so easy to become so busy that we miss the joy of your coming. Help us slow down and help us breathe. Remind us that your marvelous power in the world surrounds us and calls the Christ into the world. In the name of the one who comes we pray. Amen.
abby mohaupt is a Teaching Elder in San Francisco Presbytery and PhD student at Drew University. She is the moderator of Fossil Free PCUSA. She loves Jesus, running, and the ocean. Her previous work has included working as a pastor in Northern California, a volunteer at a domestic violence shelter in Chicago, and an artist for worship and liturgy for a variety of conferences. She semi-regularly blogs at www.featheology.org, and her writing on earth care has appeared in Sojourners, the Presbyterian Church USA's Unbound, and Ecclesio. She can usually be found with at least one crayon in hand.