You wake to prayer with the community, it is at the centre of the day and at its end. For each of these three daily prayers the brothers take their place before the alter and we watch - we wait- we stop. There is chant but then it ceases and there is silence. For ten minutes this church, filled with thousands, is rendered silent. You find yourself looking forth into the light of the alter and perhaps grasping just for an instant what it is we are waiting for. When you stop before that table, that symbol of sacrifice do you ever just wait silently for a few moments to consider what that sacrifice has really done? That the temple was shattered, that we were taken beyond the realms of the visible, that there are no longer walls between us and God. He is. We are. We are His.
Sometimes this revelation can be terrifying. God is so huge, we cannot hope to comprehend or understand Him in this life, we are too little, too flawed. Yet we can leave ourselves open to the awesome nature of His truth - the truth that comes with His son. The Christ that comes to lead us. Looking into those flickering lights you start to feel that sense of immense possibility that dwells in each of us to really live in the presence and knowledge each day, even the days we feel exhausted and shattered Simplicity and prayer help to bring the world into focus and that is what Taize does for people. It lifts the exterior away for a short while leaving only the interior.
Even language becomes rather fluid. In chants that encompass world languages one begins to feel deep prayer emitting from the heart without the words being in your own language or even a modern language, the translation is printed in the song books, but one does need this to comprehend the sacred. I was having breakfast one morning with a new friend from the Russian Orthodox tradition. She said much more articulately than I had been able to express, "You feel as though the words you speak are your own" The beauty of them is that they ARE - they are the words of each one of us because they are the words of hope and love expressed by all Christians whose souls are constantly before the alter of the world...waiting....watching...waiting for that we KNOW lies beyond.
To read what the community say about the prayer through song click here
To check out the translations of the beautiful chants click here