Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Taizé prayer in Belfast

Is there anyone you wouldn't pray with?

Living in sectarian Northern Ireland, and having beeen raised in the kind of Protestantism which balks at "worshipping with Catholics", I remain somewhat baffled. We worship every Sunday with people whose ideas are different from ours. We're even allowed to disagree with the minister or preacher, because, at least within Presbyterianism, there is a responsibility on everyone to "come to their own mind" on the meaning of Scripture. But I know that when I encourage folk to come to the Taizé prayer at St Anne's Cathedral on 26th April at 7pm, some will stay away, for fear that the presence of Roman Catholics will somehow make their own presence and prayer "idolatry".

Taizé prayer centres on scripture meditation, read, sung (repetitively, but not mindlessly) and pondered in silence. The Taizé community lives out, in its own idiosyncratic way, the church's vocation to be a community of reconciliation by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Can Presbyterians in Ireland ever embrace, or even dare to explore, this expression of spiritual unity and diversity? I hope so. Maybe it feels like parachuting in, Franklin-style, for the Taizé brothers to have organised this event, but it is one more opportunity -with a very different style- to move beyond factions toward the unity of the Church of Jesus.

After that, there's Transformations-ireland and the Global Day of Prayer on 11th May...

Personally, I find these big "events" can be a massive drain of energy - but they can also energise and invigorate - particularly if the organisers have kept the longer term objective of empowering the Church in view.

In between events, there's the rest of our lives, to be turned towards the character and love of Jesus; serving our fellow-creatures. Probably enough to be getting on with...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was very pleasantly surprised recently when we used some Taizé music in my church (a Presby congregation not too far away from you :D).

Been years since I've taken the opportunity to pray and meditate in that particular style, although our Roman Catholic brothers use it frequently in worship (at least where I used to worship).