Published on October 11th, 2014 | by ABCUSA0
Connecting with the Spirit in Taizé
There are so many things that fight for our attention everyday. When is the last time you took a few moments to be silent and listen to God? How about a whole hour? A day?
Sometimes we can benefit greatly from simply taking time out of our daily lives to spend time with God. Worship, prayer, silent meditation, practical discussions about the Spirit’s work in our lives. What would it take to set aside a week to do just that?
American Baptist Churches USA invites you to a second pilgrimage to Taizé, France, in May 2015, a trip geared towards young American Baptists (16-29) but open to all.
In the past year, ABCUSA has worked with an emphasis on spiritual formation. As part of this emphasis, ABCUSA will be sponsoring this second trip in May 2015, led by Director of Spiritual Formation, Brad Berglund. We encourage anyone, young or old, to consider joining Berglund on this “pilgrimage to Taizé.”
A great way to get a taste of Taizé is to view the video below:
The first ABCUSA-sponsored trip occurred in June 2014. Check out photos from that experience, here. Or, read what past attendees have said:
“One of the most incredible parts of the week I spent at Taizé was the community. When we arrived at Taizé, I felt a bit like the new kid on the first day of school in a foreign country. But despite the fact that there were people from many different countries, with many different languages (fortunately most people did speak English), with different cultures, different beliefs and denominations, I have never made friends so easily and quickly. That place was so full of peace, trust, hope, love, friendship, acceptance, simplicity, unity, and community. It was unlike any other experience I have ever had, it was unlike any other place I have ever been to. Even though I was only there a week and its half way around the world, Taizé quickly became one of my favorite places and a home away from home.”
“In the silence, my soul felt energized and quickened by a profound sense of two things: of Christ’s love – of His for me and of mine for Him. And I truly felt His holy presence in a different and deeper way than I usually do. I was changed by my time in Taizé …I know I was. When I returned, I knew that what I wanted more than anything was just “to be still in the presence of God.”
“That is the “Wow” of prayer: that comes after you finally allow yourself to unpack all your ‘stuff’ and to simply sit silently in the presence of God.”
-Rev. Ruth Merriam
“Taizé was an amazing experience! Taking time to slow down and listen is such a rarity in our world and Taizé is the perfect place to step out and make it happen. There is such a feeling of peace and community; to share the experience with people from all over the world just enhances it all. Traveling on a pilgrimage with Brad is worshipful, peaceful, educational, refreshing–every follower of Jesus should make time to share in such a journey!”
“Refreshing. Hopeful. Rededicated. Awed. Joyful. Renewed. Full. All of these words can easily and simply describe a week at Taizé to someone who has not been. Spending a week at Taizé and fully immersing in a wholly unique, peaceful, community lifestyle allowed me to reconnect with the Spirit and grow immensely.”
A Description of the community:
The Taizé Community is made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, coming from around thirty nations. By its very existence, the community is a “parable of community” that wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples. The brothers of the community live solely by their work. They do not accept donations. In the same way, they do not accept personal inheritances for themselves; the community gives them to the very poor.
Over the years, young adults have been coming to Taizé in ever greater numbers; they come from every continent to take part in weekly meetings. Sisters of Saint Andrew, an international Catholic community founded seven centuries ago, Polish Ursuline Sisters and Sisters of St Vincent de Paul take on some of the tasks involved in welcoming the young people.
Church leaders also come to Taizé. The community has thus welcomed Pope John Paul II, four Archbishops of Canterbury, Orthodox metropolitans, the fourteen Lutheran bishops of Sweden, and countless pastors from all over the world.
Leaving Taizé in June 2014, various conversations about experiences could be heard in the group van:
A youth group leader and the 21 year old member of his church, excitedly talking about how to implement Taizé style into a summer camp. Discussions of games, worship styles and ideas they wanted to share with the youth group at home; A German song played by the group leader, who declared it his “song of the week,” a new favorite after 9 visits to the community; Conversations of what was bought at the expo that would help Taizé remain with pilgrimage attendees, and how they would share about Taizé style of worship and living, and even about how they would incorporate it into their daily lives and churches at home.
One of the many Taizé songs that serves both as a meditation and an invitation for the Spirit, includes the following words:
“The kingdom of God is justice and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Come Lord, and open in us, the gates to Your kingdom.”
Join us on this spiritual pilgrimage, and invite God to meet you on your own spiritual journey in Taizé. Contact email@example.com to learn more. For ideas on how to fund your trip, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.