Imagine the scene…silence…lights dim. On tables, on the floor and on the steps, dozens of candles flicker. There is no preaching, no teaching, no talk of sin or repentance or forgiveness. There is just this elegantly simple service: short chants, often in Latin, repeated over and over in the dark. Plus, some short Scripture readings or psalms. And silence, at least 12 or 15 minutes, sometimes more. In 45 minutes, it’s over.
Welcome to a Taize prayer service. Taize is the creation of a Protestant monastic community in Taize, France, founded in the 1940’s by a Swiss man known as Brother Roger. The brothers of the Taize monastery there are celibates who emphasize service and ecumenicalism, particularly reconciliation between divided peoples and divided Christians. Brother Roger was especially interested in bringing Catholics and Protestants together.
In our world today, when does the noise ever stop? What pastor would dare to include eight minutes of silence on a Sunday morning? For many, silence in the typical Sunday morning is more of an unwelcome interruption than a welcome encounter. Silence for some is seen as ‘dead air.’ Many in the church place more value on words than on cultivating an attentive, listening heart.
But what if that isn’t you? What if you find yourself needing silence, what if you are one to whom the pathway to the Spirit is silence? Where do you go to encounter the presence of the God we sing about, preach about and pray to? Let us not presume the value of worship can only be found in things that are said and done…rather than simply being present and open to the Divine.
Pioneer will once again offer a Taize-style worship service, a service cut from a different cloth. Beginning on October 14, at 6:30 pm, we will meet in the Chapel for a time of silence that is alive, not dead. Please join us, especially if you are curious. You might just hear the voice of the One who calls us beloved.