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Sunday, October 12, 2003

Yesterday in the paper, in an article about kneeling, there was a reference to Taize worship.
I went to Taize when I was sixteen, for Easter. In this little village in the south of France, thousands of young people gather every year to stay, talk, share, and participate in Taize's unique form of worship.
The sanctuary, open 24 hours a day, looks like a cement block from the outside, bare, unattractive.
Inside it is dark, one whole wall covered with draped cloth and flickering candles, no other light. Here and there are some Orthodox looking icons, lit by the shimmering flames. It is quiet - you don't really talk in the sanctuary. There are no chairs - you kneel, or you stand. The brethren walk in, in white hooded robes, and take their place. Someone starts to chant - medieval sounding chants that sound old even though they are not, the lyrics in every kind of language - Latin, French, German, English, Spanish, four part harmony, full, rich...... A voice floats over the background chants, praising God. After that, another chant, and another - simple, sometimes just a couple of words, sometimes a chorus. In between, scripture reading - the same scripture, read over and over in every language represented. And times of just silence, to listen, to pray, to meditate. Silence thick with God's presence...

posted by Birgit
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