The Power of Taizé

This will be my final blog about Taizé. I want to leave you with what impressed me during this second, brief visit.

I am even more impressed by the power of one man’s vision — Brother Roger. At the same time in Europe that the vision of another man, Adolf Hitler, was wreaking devastating evil on the population, Brother Roger had a vision of the power of reconciliation and Christ’s love to create and recreate community. He created that community by bringing together just a few men. And 70 years later, the community is still worshipping, praying, and working towards sowing those small seeds of the Kingdom.

I am impressed by the power of a community. The brothers of Taizé live simply, welcome thousands of others, and reach out all over the world. But it begins with about 100 men who covenant to live together as brothers in Christ.

I am impressed by the power of ongoing worship. The brothers gather three times each day to pray and worship, no matter how big or small the visiting crowds are. Worship is at the center of their community. This is not a show put on for others. It is the heart of who they are and what they do. All flows from it. This winter when I’m back in Minnesota, years from now when I’m really old (!), they will still be gathering faithfully to pray and chant.

I am impressed by the power of silence that is at the heart of the worship of Taizé. The silence invites us to consider God’s Word that has been read. The silence opens a way for us to respond to God’s gentle invitations and quiet voice. There is no coercion. Just silence during which we are free to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Jared Brock, in his book, The Year of Living Prayerfully, describes the silence of Taizé: “In a world that competes for attention, that always has an agenda to push and a point to prove, it was incredible to share a moment of silence with a large group of people. For a small moment, we weren’t talkers and speakers. We were transformed into listeners and hearers.”

Icon of Christ accompanying Abbot Mena
Icon of Christ accompanying Abbot Mena

One of my favorite icons in the Church of the Reconciliation is that of Jesus and Abbot Mena. It is an icon representing friendship with Christ. In John 15.14-15 Jesus says: “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

We are Jesus’ friends if we do what he asks of us. I pray that the silence of Taizé will enable me to hear Jesus’ voice more clearly, and when hearing, to respond.

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