Scanning the Religion section in our local newpaper a couple months ago I came across an article inviting people to come to a Taize (pronounced teh-ZAY) outdoor worship service for music and chanting… Huh?  What is this all about?..I wondered.  I kinda forgot about it till yesterday when I ran across a church web-site promoting a Taize service. 

A google episode revealed that Taize started in the little village of Taize in the heart of the Burgundy region of France.  Taize was founded by Brother Roger Schutz (murdered by a worshipper in 2005)and was established in 1949. In this monastic community the brothers sought to awaken spirituality, promote peace and unity by ecumenism.

The worship service consists only of music, chanting, and silence.  There are no sermons, programs, announcements, etc.  I never did find out if they took an offering but I will assume probably so. (They light lots and lots of candles) On the Taize web-site in France there were some snippets of a CD to listen to.  This music was extraordinarily beautiful, monastic in nature.  When I got to the videos on YouTube though the music sounded more like the strained uncertain singing in my own church. The lyrics are most commonly Latin. This is so everyone will have a tough time learning the words, I guess. Actually it was stated that the phrases were easier to sing in Latin.  I looked at alot of videos and they only showed the singing and not the chanting.  No one filmed the silence. Not good viewing material I suppose.

I found many churches are using the Taize services including, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and other non-descript denominations. This makes me very nervous.  Below are a few excerpts of the web-sites I found among many.  I included the web address for verification.

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Good Friday  – SERVICE

LIGHTS: Scene 1. The Worship Leaders enter the sanctuary from the side doors. In silence they reverence the altar, then sit in their regular chairs. The Lector reads the lessons from the ambo, but the Pastor may deliver the sermon while seated. All stand for the bidding prayer.

As the cross is carried to the altar and during the reverencing of the cross, the tower bell may toll with at least 30 seconds of silence between each ring. Tolling may continue until the beginning of the final hymn. Alternatively, the bell may be tolled three times.

Members of the congregation who wish, come forward singly or in small groups to reverence the cross or pray, while the congregation sings Taizé chants. At the end of the Adoration, LIGHTS: Scene 3, (dim, Jesus window off). The congregation sings a hymn, a final sentence is said, and the Pastor and Worship Leaders leave in silence through the double doors at the side. Members of the congregation may remain in the sanctuary for prayers and meditation.

Taize service brings peace, healing to congregation

in Bethel Park

Thursday, July 26, 2007

By Margaret Smykla

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07207/804283-55.stm

Of the Taize Sung Prayers service at Christ United Methodist Church, Linda Williams, minister of music and worship, said “we like to think of it as an oasis from the hustle and bustle of our lives.”

Taize is a peaceful service of quiet prayer, songs, meditation, anointing of oils and prayers for healing and reconciliation. The prayer songs are often sung over and over again like a mantra, and are sometimes drawn from holy scripture.

The songs are frequently sung in different languages. There are no sermons or announcements.

The Bethel Park church, 44 Highland Road, holds the roughly 40-minute service at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month in its sanctuary.

The next Taize service will be on Wednesday. It is open to the public.

 http://www.ctkelc.org/worship/TaizeWorship.html

A meditative service in the tradition of the ecumenical community of Taizé, France is held every Saturday at 6:00 pm. The services are centered around the silent meditation on Holy Scripture and the celebration of the Eucharist. The songs which have become the hallmark of Taizé spirituality are woven through the entire service.

Taizé Service to Include Prayer Around the Cross on the first Saturday of each month.
.A wooden cross on the floor of the altar sanctuary confronts worshipers with the suffering of Christ on behalf of humanity. In its presence the suffering of the world and our own burdens come to light. Christ gave salvation to all on the tree of the cross. It is the tree where life might be restored. Worshipers may choose to meditate on the cross from the pew or may enter the altar sanctuary and kneel at the cross.

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What bothered me was the chanting and the silence which can fall into contemplative spirituality. This is definitely a red-flag area so I am not endorsing Taize.   I didn’t find any teaching from the Bible. There is no call to repentance, no praying for forgiveness, no preaching of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  No anything really, except the presence of a cross.

How can people come to know Christ without the preaching of the Gospel? But this is becoming more common  in the churches of today,  a spirituality with no Holy Spirit. No message of sin. People don’t want to hear about sin anymore. They just want to go to a church, sing, meditate, and feel good about how “spiritual” they are.  I guess that’s fine if that is all you want, but I pray that you long and thirst for the Word of God.

Look here for more information about Taize:

https://kimolsen.wordpress.com/2007/08/02/crisis-in-the-church-more-about-taize/

kim