Walking the Heart Maze
in Prayer for Racial Justice
John Lewis said: “You are the Light. Never let anyone – any person or any force – dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all the bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.” –
~John Lewis- “Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America”
Walk the maze of the heart. When you reach the center stop, breathe, connect. Feel our kinship with those who are oppressed, with those who suffer discrimination, those who are victims of violence, simply because of the color of their skin. Feel the oneness of creation and humanity, how one person’s suffering is our own. Feel the fear, the narrow-mindedness, the deep spiritual void of the oppressor as well, for they too are us. Offer a prayer for justice.
In Hebrew the Biblical word for prayer is “avodah.” In addition to “prayer/worship,” the literal meaning of this word is “work”. (It also means “service” which is why there are the phrases “church service.”) The type of work this word describes is the kind of labor that makes you sweat, the kind that produces significant measurable outcomes. Isaiah 58:7 God says, “I don’t want your fast and your sacrifice. I want you to feed your bread to the hungry, tear apart the chains of the oppressed.”
As you exit the maze, think about what avodah, what work or service you commit to do next, here in your country, here in your community, here in your own heart.
“May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain,
rejection, starvation and war
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
And to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done.” Amen.
– Franciscan Benediction
How To Build a Heart Maze
Building a Heart Maze is really very simple. Choose a spot on a lawn that ideally is more then 15 feet wide in circumference.
When it’s time to mow, mow one path that is a big heart, one that takes up the whole space starting at the bottom point. STOP before you get back to the bottom, (don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.)
Next, turn your mower around and follow the heart outline and TA–DA, you have a simple heart maze. As time goes on, if it starts to look unruly, you can mow the path with your mower’s wheels set on its lowest setting and then raise the wheels to the highest setting for the heart. (I put heart-shaped rocks I find at the beach in the center.)