Walking into Anderson University’s O.C. Lewis Gymnasium in the Kardatzke Wellness Center Monday evening, dim lighting, glowing candles and strings of white lights covered traces of the usual sports atmosphere. Instead of cheering fans sitting in the bleachers, students sat with heads bowed and not a sound could be heard except soft choir and organ music floating through the air. Two giant plastic labyrinths lay on the floor outlined with strands of bright white lights. One by one, students and members of the community stepped up to the beginning of the labyrinth walk to meditate and pray as they followed the winding paths printed in deep blue. According to the Rev. Kimberly Majeski, campus pastor, the labyrinth walk is a spiritual exercise of reflection. “It’s to focus your thoughts and hear from God.”
“For me, it was time away from my busy college life to meditate on God,” said Jeff Faker, 20, a sophomore at Anderson University.
Not only were students present at the labyrinth walk, but members of the community were as well. Ronda Higgins, 35, brought her fiancé, Ron Hamersley, 38, from Avon and her two children Jacob Day, 6, and Molly Day, 9, to walk the labyrinth. “We’ve gone to these things before,” said Hamersley.
“You work your way into the circle and back out again. It’s a tool to help focus on prayer,” said Higgins. “I want to teach (the children) it’s a tool, too.”
Because of her age, Molly outlasted Jacob and walked both labyrinths. “She understands it’s a prayer thing you walk and pray,” said Higgins.
The labyrinth walk kicked off AU’s Spiritual Emphasis Week that runs through Friday. “It’s an experience we offer students to grow more in their faith,” said Majeski.
Spiritual Emphasis Week is held once a semester every year. “It gives you a chance to focus on what spirituality and faith is and focus on that,” said Aaron Dicken, 19, an AU sophomore. “Being involved in this helps me realize how important spiritual life is, not just here, but outside.”
The theme for this semester is “Real Faith: Certain Mystery...Making Room for God.”
“Exploring mystery is inherent in faith, and we’re teaching students to embrace that and explore it more deeply,” said Majeski.
To help the students further understand this theme, Majeski asked Leonard Sweet, founder and president of Spirit Venture Ministries and author of more than 100 articles, over 600 published sermons and 27 books, to be the keynote speaker throughout the week.
“He really is one of the foremost people who understands and speaks a great deal to the dynamics of this generation,” said Majeski. “He was the perfect speaker to reflect our theme.”
Sweet will be speaking Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. at Byrum Hall and Thursday at 10 a.m. in Reardon Auditorium.
Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m. a community celebration service will be held at Byrum Hall, and students and community members will be giving testimony on their experiences through the week.
All events during Spiritual Emphasis Week are open to anyone who wishes to attend. “We welcome the community to participate,” said Majeski.
— Writer Lynelle Miller is a reporter for the Anderson Herald Bulletin. Visit the Herald Bulletin web site at http://www.theheraldbulletin.com