In a culture which is getting ever busier, in which we are ever more bombarded by advertisements and images and in which you can't even wait for a train at some stations or fill up with fuel without being exposed to the TV - and in a society which is demanding longer working hours and in which you get less quality time with yourself, others and indeed God - the idea of having 'space' is becoming crucial.
We need space. Time to contemplate and meditate - time to stop is, in fact, becoming a rare commodity. Even in our sleep we are processing the busyness of the day and trying to cope with it. Like the TV, it seems almost impossible to switch off.
It is peculier how many church services mirror the world outside. There is often a lot of noise and a degree of general chaos. While of course we should want to be relevant, we also need to be counter cultural. On the labyrinth we can counter the culture by promoting the idea of sacred space, to give people the time, the peace, the quiet and the reflection that they just don't get outside. The time for prayer and worship. The time to think about the things that really count. "Within your temple, O Lord, we meditate on your unfailing love', writes the Psalmist (Ps. 48:9). But do we? Many of us live lives that are stressful and over busy.
The labyrinth is an opportunity to symbolically 'let go' of the busyness for a while, to be still and listen, to ourselves and to God. We do not encourage people to ignore or forget their day-to-day problems on the labyrinth; rather, by highlighting such concerns we allow them to be specifically brought before God and then set aside for a while. This is no escapist spirituality - the aim is that we must come out at the end of it better able to live out our real lives as real people and to incarnate (verb) christ to others.
The process of 'letting go' is also akin to repentance. However it is framed in a way that empowers the person walking the labyrinth rathe than causing them and as ever is focused on the goal of renewed relationship. We make a positive decision and chose to let go and move on from the patterns of behavior that spoil our relationships (with others, ourselves, the plane and God). Again such a process is part of the preparation to 'meet with God', it is about clearing away the clutter.
(Excerpt from the "Labyrinth Leader's Guide" - Copyright YFC and Proost)