Taizé (pronounced “Tezzay”) services at Fourth Church provide an opportunity to gather in a contemplative, prayerful setting at the end of a busy week. Candles; easy-to-learn songs from various countries, traditions, and languages; and a period of silence all contribute to a time to reflect and to open oneself to God.
Using meditative singing and silence as a method of prayer, the service draws on the style used by an ecumenical community in Taizé, France, a community committed to promoting and praying for reconciliation, peace, unity, and healing throughout the world.
Taizé at Fourth Church
Taizé is an ecumenical community located near the small town of Taizé, France. Founded in 1940 by Brother Roger, who brought together brothers from all over the world, the community has long been committed to promoting and praying for reconciliation, peace, and unity. Each week it welcomes up to 6000 people, mostly young adults, from around the globe. They spend time in prayer, song, Bible study, workshops, discussion, and fellowship.
This community has developed a style of worship that reflects its lifestyle commitment. The worship is simple, beautiful, and more about praying and listening with the whole self than with the mind only. It is inclusive of all who wish to participate. By singing together simple chants that are short, easy to learn, and repeated many times, those worshiping in the style of Taizé are able to let go with their mind and to pray and listen to God with their heart. The chant becomes the prayer, and the chant becomes lost in the prayer. Brother Roger wrote,
Nothing is more conducive to a communion with the living God than a meditative common prayer with, as its high point, singing that never ends and that continues in the silence of one’s heart when one is alone again. When the mystery of God becomes tangible through the simple beauty of symbols, when it is not smothered by too many words, then a common prayer awakens us to heaven’s joy on earth. Prayer is a serene force at work within human beings, stirring them up, transforming them, never allowing them to close their eyes in the face of evil, of wars, of all that threatens the weak of this world. From it we draw the energy to wage other struggles—to enable our loved ones to survive, to transform the human condition, to make the earth a place fit to live in.
Taizé has become a model for the formation of community all over the world. Many think that we need to come together as Christians and indeed as people of any faith. Joining in prayer together, as in the style of Taizé, is one small step we can take to begin the work of reconciliation, peace, and unity here in our community, even in our own lives.
To learn more about Taizé, visit the Taizé community’s website.
For more information about Taizé at Fourth Church,
The First Taizé Service in Buchanan Chapel | January 25, 2013
Taizé with Members of the Taizé Community | April 27, 2012