Taize – A Beautiful Experience
A few weeks before Easter I went to Taize in the Burgundy region of France about five hours drive south from Paris. A lot of people know about Taize through the music and chants but for those who do not click here TAIZE for a link to their website.
I was especially keen to go this year as I had worked with some of the sisters of Saint Andre for the Churches Together England conference last year and one of them, who lives in Ameugny, just next to the Taize complex, was very keen that I should come.
Whatever loveliness you hear about Taize, do not believe it until you try it for yourself! It was awesome, wonderful, beautiful and deeply moving. It was also cold and sometimes not what you would expect. For me it was a time to reinforce a sense of pilgrimage and acceptance of whatever was given but most of all it was the beauty of the services, the singing and the silence that held me in thrall. This latter feeling has stayed inside of me and is like a kernal or seed that will grow and develop over the years to come.
I learned many things- too many to go on about here but the most significant was the thought from one of the Brothers that Christ is on the way with us. That little word on makes a world of difference – opening up Christianity into something that is all inclusive and not fixed or exclusive.
We heard from Brother Alois after his trip to see the inauguration of Pope Francis I and the Archbishop of Canterbury- he was filled with light as he told us how beautiful it all was and how he had a good feeling of the quality of this new Pope. As a budding Franciscan I can say I am equally overjoyed.
Thank you Taize and all the people I met and became friends with and the brothers and sisters who work there tirelessly helping many people, especially young people to be and to grow in spirit. My most especial thanks to the dear sister who nursed me when I was sick along with the German doctor she found and my friend who is another sister who encouraged and helped me to unload the burdens and sorrows of last year at the foot of the cross on the Friday night service. We are made anew every time we step out in faith, We begin again, once more.
Some images from my week:
Delightfully for me the whole place is filled with icons, there is an little Orthodox chapel in the Crypt, but the icons are where ever you go- even on walks outside in little covered over areas. The call to prayer and to remember is at every turn. I loved this icon especially as it is of the woman at the well. The flaring light is a reflection of the flash and not on the image itself but the fire reminds me of the holy spirit. I told my German friends, I formed a group along with, that the Samaritan woman has a halo. They were amazed at this and had not noticed it because the Samaritan woman is often seen as someone less than holy. If you think about her attitude to Christ is was wonderful- she listened to him, she understood his words and she knew that the living water he promised was real and something to be yearned for. She rushed to her people and returned with them. She was more of a disciple than his disciples. Just like Mary- of Mary and Martha, and Mary Magdalene- these women intuitively knew and perceived the truth in Him and loved him for it.
Some of my friends from the bible study group: The brilliant Pavel from the Czech Republic, Connie- who was very thoughtful, Thomas- who was so dear, Claudia and another Connie who both offered quiet, considered thoughts. Also on the left but just missed out on the shot was Ulrich who had been a missionary in south Africa for many years. They all spoke english for my benefit and I learned so much from them. We also had Bob Twobulls from the Dakota tribe in our group – he was a great listener and would then offer up some wisdom at the end which was worth the wait.
Not in our group but worth a mention was Adam from the States who has just written a sci fi book and has been travelling the world for a while. He was so open and friendly to everyone and even managed to speak a bit of Texan Cockney! It was terrible but very funny.
A bit blurred- the service of light on Saturday.
This entry was posted on April 1, 2013 by apocalypseicons. It was filed under Artist in Residence, Meditations, Ruminations, Thanksgiving and was tagged with beauty, Br alois, Christ, France, icons, Pope Francis I, songs, Taize, transfiguration.