We just got back from Taize, France on Monday and it was quite an experience. We stayed in a monastic community where we lived in a community of brothers. A brother resembles a monk but just isn’t catholic. They have dedicated their lives to celibacy and to God. Taize is a community that is geared toward youth and they have hundreds and even thousands come to live in the community for a period of time.
We had prayer services three times a day. Before breakfast, before lunch, and then after dinner. The prayer services are very unique. Everyone sits on the floor and the whole service consist of singing chants, scripture reading, and silence. The brothers sit in the center area of the chapel building. It was very interesting to see the ways that they worshiped and the positions that they took. – bowing.
All of us were assigned work places in order to participate and give back to the community that we all lived in together. My group tore down these massive tents that people stayed in when they go there. It was such a specific task to tear down and fold everything and then put it away. Our ‘responsible’ or team leader was Pawel (25) and he was from Poland but had decided to volunteer in Taize for a year. Julian (19) was also another permanent (volunteer/worker) and he was German. He has until Christmas to work in Taize and then he will go to the United States to work in national parks out of Arizona. They were so nice and amazing to get to know.
Every morning we would partake in communion and every weekend they celebrate Easter. On Saturday we had a candle lighting service which was really cool to be apart of. These kids would light their candles and pass it along to the brothers who then passed it to us. Once you had the light you were to pass it to someone who did not.
The week we spend there was definitely a time to remember. We met people from around the world, learned the way of a monastic community, and really experienced God in a very different and interesting way.
Learn something new: Rubbing noses: the purpose/meaning of this cultural action isn’t to ‘rub noses.’ It is actually the idea of them getting close enough to breathe in the breath of the other person. It is an action of intimacy.