Monday, July 16, 2012

Sailing, on Dry Land, at Taizé

Jesus said to Nicodemus...

"The wind blows where it pleases; you can hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going...."

One of my fellow musicians in the Folk Choir, Catherine Hackbarth, is an avid sailor. And I'm pretty sure she has a lot to say about the wind: how to anticipate it, how to work with it, how to respect it. When you are sailing, you are at the mercy of the wind, and subject to her dispositions.

I am not a sailor, but lately, I've been thinking a lot about the wind. Where the wind is blowing. And especially how the ecclesial winds have been blowing around this place called Taizé.

When you're on a sailing vessel, everything must change, and pretty constantly: the sails must be trimmed, or unfurled. The rudder is in constant play. The ship will need to tack, moving back and forth to take advantage of the changing flow of the air currents.

Taizé, despite being hours from the ocean, is like a craft upon the sea: it is a dynamic example of change and adaptability. For instance, during the summer months, the number of people here per week swells from several hundred to several thousand. Who cleans the facilities? Who cooks the meals? Who are the musicians? What will the catechetical sessions look like? All of these things are in constant flux through the course of the seasons.

But more than this – Taizé is also a study in the changing currents in the church. There are more than sixty men in their community, and these men are from every corner of the world. Though Christian-based, they are one of the loudest proponents for ecumenical dialog. Their repertoire has become part of the faith expression of most Christian communities over the past two generations. They are sought out as a place for spiritual refreshment, regardless of language and sometimes, regardless of creed. They have a substantial outreach to the poor. And lately, they've begun to figure out how to take their expression on the road – this past May, a number of the brethren brought the Taizé experience to Chicago; in December, they will do the same in Rome.

I think, if I were deep in conversation with Jesus about all of this – shooting the breeze, if you will – I think he'd have a few things to say about which way the wind is blowing: the wind, that is, of the Holy Spirit.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Taizé, Bourgogne, France

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