If there is a space where religion and spirituality unite, perhaps it is in Taizé. Imagine a worship space, silent, lights dimmed, candles flicker, all the while a cross waits for worshipers to come and light their own candle as a symbol of their prayers. One by one the cross becomes more alive as worshipers melodically chant together, slowly repeating a single line, adding their own flames to the ones already burning. One sung chant moves to another.
It feels ancient even as it offers a contemporary access to the eternal. There is no preaching. No one telling anyone how to live. Just chanting, soft music, silence, the occasional Scripture reading or psalm, and prayer. This style of reverent prayer has attracted worshipers from many different Christian denominations around the globe.
Taizé, however, is more than a style of worship, it is also a monastic community in France. The community was founded in 1940 by a Reformed Protestant, Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche, affectionately known as Brother Roger. Coming out of the desolation of World War II, he sought to create a community of healing and refuge. Brother Roger started the Taizé community to create a space for people to find God in the midst of brokenness. Hence, the name of the church in Taizé is the “Church of Reconciliation.”
Today, this small ecumenical community of about 100 brothers has become a place of Christian pilgrimage, especially for youth. Each year tens of thousands of young people make the journey, for a day, a week, or even several months. Visitors join in the community’s daily life of reflection, discussion, and prayer.
You are invited to experience worship in the style of Taizé every Wednesday evening throughout the 2019 season of Lent at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Services begin at 7 p.m. and last about an hour.
The Rev. Dawn Wilder is pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church.