3/5/2017 12:00 AM
One of the experiences that we offer with the Pastoral Area every Advent and Lent is an opportunity to gather for Taizé Prayer, which we are offering this Tuesday at St. John the Baptist. For many, this style of prayer is unfamiliar, mainly because it is just… different. But yet, it is a wonderful and meditative way to pray with song and scripture, so I would like to take the time here to describe the history of the Community where this prayer arises and what this style of prayer is about.
With the typical caveat that comes from quoting Wikipedia, the origins of the Community are described there:
“The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions, who originate from about thirty countries across the world. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schütz, a Reformed Protestant. Guidelines for the community’s life are contained in
The Rule of Taizé written by Brother Roger and first published in French in 1954.
The community has become one of the world's most important sites of Christian pilgrimage, with a focus on youth. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community's ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation.”
Because of their Catholic and Protestant roots, and being founded near the ancient ruins of the monastery at Cluny, they have a focus on communal worship through song and music. But the music is not the typical Church hymnody nor is it the contemporary Praise and Worship music.
Rather, their music is designed to be simple, repetitive and contemplative. Most of the music at Taizé is composed of ostinato refrains, which allow the community to pray the same simple line over and over again; softly; allowing the music to permeate the mind, the heart and the soul.
Those who lead the music are doing so not in terms of a performance, but are present to guide the rest of the participants into a deeper awareness of prayer, to listen the voice of the Savior speaking in the words. The harmonies that are used in the prayer combine the traditional structure of western music with tonal elements from music around the world. It really becomes a moment to enter into a new way of prayer and hear God’s voice speaking.
If you have the opportunity, please join us at St. John the Baptist this Tuesday, March 7, at 6:00 pm for a simple Lenten supper followed by Taizé prayer at 7:00 pm in the main Church. (If you cannot make dinner, you are still more than welcome to join just the prayer opportunity!)
For more information on Taizé, please visit their website: www.taize.fr/en.
Fr. Kyle Schnippel
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