Playdates with God: Taize

*Last night our Centering Prayer group hosted a Taize Prayer service. It was so, so lovely. This is what I wrote about the experience last year.

We turn down the lights and light the candles, because God is Light; (and) in him there is no darkness at all. We move the sanctuary around…arranging the chairs in two concentric circles around the table with all those flickering luminaries. And we wait for dusk.

Those who come are instructed to enter in silence…and soon we are one, our hearts twined together by the simple weaving of silence and Word and song. It is my first Taize* prayer service, but I am swept away in our voices lifted together, layer after layer billowing up like smoke. And when we sing O Christe Domine Jesu, I think my heart might break for the beauty.

They leave much the way they came, in silence; in prayer. We move the chairs back and extinguish the candles. The smell of melted wax permeates the air and my heart is molten too.

And when we step out into the night, I can smell the Holy.

*Taize prayer originated in a Protestant monastery in Taize, France during the Second World War.  In the beginning this place was a sanctuary for second World War refugees, particularly Jews persecuted by the Nazi regime. It is a simple service—combining prayer, silence, and liturgy to bring us into the presence of God. The service has elements that date from the third century C.E. and is rooted in the Jewish custom of a ritual blessing of light. Today the Taize community is made up of more than a hundred brothers from all Christian denominations who work in the village outside the monastery and live together in community following the rule of St. Benedict. 

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

the Playdates button:

Comments

  1. says

    So glad you shared this, Laura. Just last week I was able to participate in a Taize service for the very first time. I had never even heard of it until then. It took me a few minutes to adjust to the repetitive pace, but once I did, it was wonderful, and I hope to have another opportunity sometimes to participate again.

    I’ve also recently joined a Centering Prayer group. Oh my. It’s a whole new realm of prayer for me. I have much to learn.

  2. says

    I love Taize services. We hold on during Advent and have talked about doing one during Lent but never have. peaceful and worshipful, aren’t they?

  3. OutnumberedMom says

    This sounds just lovely. I would love to experience a Taize service! Some day, I NEED one…

  4. says

    I have never participated in a Taize service but, during my three weeks in PA, I worshiped in three different churches and participated in my first Ash Wednesday service. And then there was Jubilee. I was deeply moved by having the opportunity to stand next to brothers and sisters I don’t often see and worship next to them. Did you see my tears as we sang together, “How Great is Our God?”

  5. says

    Good Morning, Laura ~

    This I needed to read, to discover, to savor this morning. How we crave His presence, His peace, His still small voice, His community.
    Thank you …

  6. says

    Laura: This must have been a wonderful service! Thank you for sharing this. I am in the middle of reading Richard Foster’s book on prayer (a life-changing read indeed!), and this fits in so nicely with what God has been speaking to me about through the reading.

  7. Maureen says

    I’ve attended a number of Taize services in our area – all wonderful. I find I prefer them to the more formal and traditional Episcopal services.

  8. says

    Hey, I recognize those birds. 🙂

    The silence and the waiting are so challenging, but I can see those candles and feel the Spirit here in these words. Sounds like such a blessed time.

  9. says

    What an interesting experience. Your pictures are so lovely. I miss the intercessory prayers times with a group that are not so silent as we pray for our world, our nation, cities, neighborhoods, and families.

  10. kingfisher says

    How blessed you are, Laura, to have access to such a worship service. Thanks for painting delicate and tender word-pictures of worship.

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