What is Taize Worship? Yes, it is a type of worship, but its name comes from a village in eastern France. Since 1940 Taize has been the home of an ecumenical community of brothers whose prayer three times a day forms the center of their lives. Today Taize is a place where visitors of all ages and backgrounds come on pilgrimages and to participate in prayer and reflection. Their unique style of music and worship bridges denominational and cultural barriers.
Initially the community was made of brothers from various Protestant denominations, but today it includes many Catholics also. Today there are 100 brothers of Taize representing every denomination and race and culture. The brothers live on every continent and among the poor and downtrodden. Since the fall of communism thousands of young people have come to Taize from Eastern Europe. Between Christmas and New Year, the community holds a Pilgrimage of Trust in a European capital. In a recent meeting 100,000 young people were in attendance.
The Taize service is a non-threatening, welcoming form of worship. People enter a darkened church, lit only by candles. The icons and candlelight create a welcoming and contemplative atmosphere. Quiet singing, short songs repeated again and again promotes meditation. Bible readings are offered by readers seated among the congregation. And there are silences, some short, some long, time to meditate, time to hear God speak to you in the quiet of your heart. There is a time just to sit and be, to reflect on whatever word or phrase in a particular Bible reading touches our heart and this gives us time to meditate on it. It is a time to hear God speak and a time to let one's burdens down in the quiet of His Presence.
Icons also contribute to the beauty of worship as symbols of the Incarnation giving the eyes a spiritual message as the Word is a message to our ears. Icons take us back to a time when the Bible was not in the hands of the people and most were illiterate, yet the visual images were powerful conduits of the gospel of Jesus the Christ and they remain so today.
Good Shepherd celebrates a Taize worship service on the third Sunday of the month at 6:00 PM. Please come and join us.