Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Good Lion
Yesterday was our day of prayer at the office and we had a neat experience for the first part of the day. Everyone who participated had the opportunity to walk through a labyrinth. The labyrinth is an ancient prayer form. It is a form of going on a pilgrimage - walking to a holy place to experience God and physical or spiritual healing. When it became dangerous to travel to the Holy Land during the Crusades people began walking in labyrinths, a stationary form of pilgrimage. They were engraved in the floors of cathedrals. It is a path that twists and turns until you reach the center where you can reflect and listen to God. The labyrinth we walked was in the Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland.
As I was walking through the labyrinth I was praying about some things I need to let go of and let God control in my life. There were some specific areas that I needed to surrender to him. I was reminded of the vision of God as a lion, much like Aslan the lion in The Chronicles of Narnia. As i was walking around the cross, it seemed to be that the lion was roaring, protective, and fierce. But I still wanted to get closer.
Finally, I reached the center and was praying before the cross, symbolically surrendering those areas in my life by laying down a stone at the foot of the cross. I had the feeling that the lion was sitting next to me, ready to walk with me as I walked back out through the path of the labyrinth. It was as if Jesus was showing me, in a real way, the way he walks beside us each and every day and will take our burdens on his back if we ask him to and trust that he will take care of them.
So often, we come to a moment where we surrender these burdens and we feel lighter for a time, but as soon as we feel better, our tendency is to say, "Look what I did, I solved the problem, I took care of it." By doing this, we immediately take that burden back from Jesus' shoulders. We almost become greedy with it because we want to take the credit for 'solving' it. This is just one of the many conundrums of our Christian walk.
Why do we not just give it over to Jesus and let him take care of it. How much easier that would be, instead of playing a game of tug-of-war with him (which he lets us inevitably win until we learn what we are doing) to simply say, Thank you Lord for carrying these burdens for me and for giving me your yoke which is light?
We must remember to constantly come to the Lion, who while fierce and protective, is also gentle, kind, and wants to be our companion and carry our burdens - much like the lion Aslan being willing to sacrifice himself in the place of Edmund in the story of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.