Taizé — looking back
I was back in Taizé for a week, and my admiration for this place or this model of church continues to grow. The first thing that continues to give me a lot of joy is the presence of a lot of youngsters; many of them may not be the “classical church- going Christians”. Churches are full and prayer is a natural form of activity here. Nobody ask anyone to come to church, but the churches are full during all the three prayer sessions. Even at midnight, or at 3pm, we can see youngsters singing in the church. Why they do so here? Even those fellows who may not even visit local churches regularly? Some of my observations are…
- The church is a community of people. But is it a community which welcomes people as they are? That’s a tricky question, and my immediate answer will be No. We can always justify it saying that any institution (and church is an institution too) needs rules or guidelines. But in the background of rules and regulations, if we can’t welcome people as they are, there is a serious trouble. Sometimes the church can fall in the same trap as Jesus reminded the people of his time, “Sabbath is created for humans and not the otherway around”. I personally think Taizé goes a long way (may not be yet perfect) in welcoming people as they are, allowing them to be as they are.
- It respects the diversity and difference. They are people belonging to various denominations of Christian faith, people belonging to different styles of thinking and practicing faith (or not practicing faith). But they can pray, play, eat, share, and discuss together. These differences enrich one-another.
- Another aspect which one of the brothers shared (which is attributed to Br. Roger, the founder of Taizé community) deeply touched me. They attempt to create a community, but they don’t want to create a Taizé movement. Or they don’t want to create a separate group of people. They wish the people to continue to live in their localities and parishes, and create Christian comunities that are inclusive and move in line with the dreams and aspirations of Jesus and the gospel. They attempt to ignite a certain fire, that can spread; they don’t want to create certain chambers in the world where the fire exist safe inside the chambers.
When I look back at my two years in France, 5 weeks I spent in Taizé on the course of two years, is one of the most beautiful times of my life. If anyone gets a chance to visit a Taizé for a few days (preferably a week), don’t miss it.