Posts Tagged ‘St. James Cathedral


7.2.15 … grounded by grace and gladness …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Labyrinth Walks, St. James Cathedral, 4th Presbyterian Church, Chicago IL:

St. James Cathedral is a yellow stone with red trim around the windows and red doors at the front. It is covered in scaffolding, and I found the labyrinth on the side of the church which is wonderful because it is easily accessible to all.

I walked around the church before I “walked.” I found the security covers on the parish house windows to be wrought iron forming the St. James scallops. Of course, that gives me a smile. The next thing I noticed was the public art sculpture of the red foot with the boot print underneath. It sits on the ground near one of the steps to the front entrances of the church. I also peeked into the lovely garden before I returned to the labyrinth and walked it.

Although I generally do not like the abbreviated Chartres style labyrinth with seven circuits, this one is so tight that it it slows down your timing, and I found it refreshing. I thought about two quotes, the first is the one that I saw on a 1952 mini BMW in the Garmin store window on Michigan Avenue – “The world revolves around us. We pick the coordinate systems.” – and the second is the one at the church – “A Place of Grace and Gladness.” Quite a contrast.

My walk was delightful. The fog that covered the tall buildings around me lifted but there was a hubbub of activity at 6:45 in the morning. It amazed me to be in a real city. I noticed the small birds in the tree and then they hopped down, and two of them joined me on the labyrinth as I finished my walk. They were chirping loudly. Such a delightful walk.

Thank you St. James Cathedral!

After my labyrinth walk, I walked down Michigan Avenue to Fourth Presbyterian Church. It’s funny because I came here multiple times when I lived in Chicago both as a young adult at 19 and during the four years that I lived in Wilmette, and I always spent time in the lovely garden on the Michigan Avenue side of the church. I first walked in that area this morning.

I walked around the church looking for the chapel thinking it would be in the old part of the church. To my surprise there is a modern addition at the back of the church, and it was in that modern addition that the chapel is located. It is dedicated to the long-term minister who retired in 2012.

The labyrinth was inlaid in a marble floor in this modern chapel. It is a full Chartres. Because the setting is really a monochromatic blank space, i was really focused on walking, meditation and prayer. I was also completely undistracted by birds, by nature, by the hubbub of the city.

So my two walks were vastly different, both spiritual and both absolutely lovely.

Thank you Fourth Pres.!!

I then bolted back and enjoyed breakfast with GoGo while looking at Moses.

And then a special treat … Coffee with an old friend and neighbor from Wilmette, Nora Weir.

And there was irony – as I left Chicago, I noticed the inlaid compass rose at the blue line station …

So what is my coordinate system? I’m hoping I’m grounded by grace and gladness.


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May 2020