Sunday, August 28, 2011

the dim and sacred and quiet

TaizeImage by Winam via FlickrI entered the stone church building lit up with a hundred tiny candles four years ago this month.  Jill was with me - we hushed ourselves and squinted our eyes, adjusting to the dim and sacred and quiet.

The dark, curly-haired boy was there, sitting alone in a pew.  I was surprised, as I had mentioned to him about the service and he hadn't sounded like he planned to come.  It turns out he happened to be passing the old church just as the service was starting and thought he might sit down for a bit.

(singing) "In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, in God my peace and joy.  Only in God my soul can find its rest, find its rest and peace ... "

The Taize community was founded by Brother Roger in Taize, France in the midst of World War II.  His intention was to create ways of healing the divisions between Christians, and through that reconciliation move towards healing for the human family. The movement slowly spread throughout the world with Protestants and Catholics joining together for this unique act of worship.  Sadly, in 2005 Brother Roger died after being attacked during evening prayer.

This particular Taize gathering had been a quiet refuge for me over the past three years prior.   I found life and energy in the simple melodies sung over and over and over and over again and in the very pregnant and waiting silences.  There was always opportunity to kneel at the cross with a lit candle, relinquishing some burden to our God who was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire.  He was in the silence, only a voice.  (1 Kings 19: 11-13)

The service was always basically the same, month after month, although my life and experiences were rapidly changing.  I bore new victories, new disappointments, new scars.  Even the white haired people leading the songs and liturgy were still there, each year, and it comforted me.  The world is not all chaos.

(singing) "Wait for the Lord whose day is near.  Wait for the Lord, be strong take heart ... "

Usually only five to six other people inhabited the space with me.  The rest of the world spun madly by, oblivious to the disarming peace waiting just behind the large wooden doors.

It was maybe 45 minutes and we finished, lingering in the warmth of all the true words we'd just spoken and sung together.  And then I walked home and shared thoughts with the different wonderful friends who'd just shared the space and time with me.

(a prayer by Brother Roger)  "Holy Spirit, enable us to bring peace where there are oppositions, and to allow a reflection of God's compassion to become visible by the lives we lead.  Yes, show us how to love and to say it with our life.  O Lord, hear my prayer."

That one Sunday evening in August 2007 the dark, curly-haired boy was there too.  He walked Jill and I home with much kindness.  Thousands of  miles and emails and twenty-one months later, we were married.

This weekend that boy and I went to another Taize service on a Friday night, held in a 150 year old Catholic church, lit up by another hundred candles and classical guitar.  There were only a handful of people there and we were by far the youngest.  As we repeated the lines over and over and over and over again, I was reminded that while the world is a very hurting and broken place, we are welcomed to come and be still.

This time I sat right next to the dark, curly-haired boy and even held his hand. 

(singing) "In the Lord I'll be ever thankful ... "
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1 comment:

  1. I turned the last page of 'The Hiding Place' less than an hour before reading this Becca. Not long before she died in a German concentration camp, Betsie ten Boom said "Corrie, we must tell people that no pit is so deep that He is not deeper still."

    Praise God for the quiet, still places to refresh the aching pain of a broken world. May we seek them out more often together friend. Kx