Have you ever tried navigating through a maze?
Perhaps as a kid you tried to find your way in and out of a hedge maze in a park. Or maybe you visited a maze made of corn or sunflower stalks in a farmer’s field. They’re fun, aren’t they?
Mazes can vary dramatically in size. Some are so large that visitors are given an emergency cell phone number to call if they get lost in the maze and can’t find their way out!
You might wonder, is a maze the same as a labyrinth?
The terms are often used interchangeably, but there’s actually a difference between them.
A maze is known as “multicursal.”
It branches off into many confusing paths and surprising dead ends. A maze may have several entrances and exits. The surrounding hedges or walls are so high and dense that you can’t see the whole pattern unless you get up high in a viewing tower or balloon ride. A maze is for entertainment, a fun puzzle to try to solve.
A labyrinth, on the other hand, is “unicursal.”
A labyrinth has only one track or walkway, and it doesn’t branch off into dead ends. There’s only one way in or out. You enter, follow the path to the centre, and continue on the same path until you reach the exit. Sometimes the barriers on either side are very low, allowing you to see the entire pattern. Walking a labyrinth can be a calming, spiritual practice.
Which does Christianity most resemble, a maze or a labyrinth?
Jesus implies that it’s more like a labyrinth:
There’s only one way in, and one path to follow.Read more