Posted by: guinness222 | April 6, 2008

Taize!!

Something new for me,..but I love it.
Having been born and brought up Roman Catholic there are certain things you can not miss out on. Like all the ceremonies, all the mystical formats and “pomp and Circumstance”, the heirarchy of seminarians, priest, monsignors, bishops, arch-bishops, cardinals, and of course Pope. Now don’t get me wrong here, but I want more out of a spiritual moment than the 63 years of what I’ve gotten thus far, and it is definately not longer, more “sermonizing”, or joining one of the other ministries or committees in my local church.
If I seem to go a little deep in this blog, just write it off to me sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, full blown head cold, not up to par, or whatever else you care to call it but read on, and please let me know your opinion as well.

One of the single most things that gave me a “shot” of spitiuality was what is called “Gregorian Chant” this was a type of Latin song style invented, (Oops! let’s be correct here!)chosen and dictated as the official choice of Christian music by Pope Gregory “the Great” (590-614 AD). The reason? It was slow, did not have a “zippy tune” or “catchy refrain” and was more like a “drone” in a big empty building. (Of course this was when the whole of Christianity was Roman Catholic, almost 1000 years before Martin Luthor posted his thesis on the doors of the Wittennburg Cathedral!)
Now having gone to 12 years of Catholic school I got my fair share of Gregorian Chant in Latin. (Can’t say I understood the words, but if you miss a note Sr. Mary whatever was there with her pitchpipe and ruler to be sure you got it right next time. But I deviate.
My wife who is in this local “ecumenical chior”, came home a couple of moths ago and announced her chior was going to do a “Taize” type concert, (and of course my attendance was compulsory, as usual) So as she headed off to all the practices I had a bit of spare time and looked up this “Taize” stuff on Google, went to thier web site and started reading through it.
At first glance it was a sort of non-denominational, almost Catholic kind of monastary sort of experiance at someplace called Taize, about four hours outside Paris. The thing that impressed me as I read was it’s basic simplicity, the HUGE numbers of young people who walked, rode, and any other way they could just to go there. Not just German’s French, Italian, but African, Bolivian, Phillipino, Korean and Australian, and just about every other corner of the world. This was peeking my interest. (If today’s youth see’s a value then there is definately something worth looking into there.) I also noticed Pope John Paul the 23rd dropped by a few times himself! (That was impressive as well, as Popes have better things to do than check out little “communes” around the world.)
There was a basic explanation that what they “provided” was a SIMPLE method of knowing God. Chant was the basis, not long and complex, but simple and repetative and brief. In all different languages they chanted, then there was a reading of a couple of sentances from the Bible, then another chant, then silence for as long as you cared to stay and “talk to God, one on one”. The average service took less than 10 minutes! But the sheer noumber of people was amazing. The Bible verse was read aloud in at least four different languages, one right after the other. Sounded “cool”! I started listening to some of the other chants they had on the website in MP3 format and enjoyed them as well. Then came the concert!
As I entered this local church where they always had these ecumenical concerts, I noticed the chior was not in it’s usual place up front on a sort of “stage”, but they were scattered all over the church in the pews! (First thought they were trying to do some last minute learning of the parts in silence. OK so I jumped to conclusions.) The lights were dimmed and there were a lot of lit candles all over the place. I glanced at the watch, (they better get up and get to the choir loft or something there is less than a minute til it starts,….but they didn’t move.) Then I noticed the chior Director come in and sit down at her piano at the BACK of the church. She started playing a little tune, and the chior just began siiging from where they were. IT was outstanding, after a couple of short (no more than two minutes each) chants, the local minister stepped up to the microphone and of course my cynical mind thinks “Okay here we go lot’s of sermon coming up) Less than 15 second later he finishes and sits down! Then the Choir does another chant, again short ones, and then the chior director announces there will be a period of silence for contemplation. After what seemed like an hour (my cynical mental clock, it was probably no more than five minutes of silence. The choir started another chant, and repeated the entire sequence of chant, reading, and silence. This time I got into the whole thing. The simple chant echoed in my mind, the one sentance reading also rattled around with the chant, and I found I loved the silence. I could really concentrate on the words of the reading, and becasue it was so short it had meaning, the chant helped me relax and open myself to other than my troubles, and my world, and you know what? It was spiritual!
I stayed there almost twenty minutes AFTER the “concert” ended, just thinking and relaxing “talking” to God. I really think He listens to us, I really think He cares, but the bottom line (again the cynical business guy in me)is He expects us to talk to Him.
If you are interested go to “www.taize.fr/en_article681.html”,…..enjoy!


Responses

  1. Taize music is beautiful. I’m glad you got so much out of it.

  2. Jezzy,
    Simplicity is the ultimate. My wife also loves chior and she is “schocked” that the simplicity of this has touched me so much.

  3. Taize is new to me but anything where quiet contemplation is encouraged gets ticks from me.

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying it Alec…


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