Bonjour! ...or, good night...whatever that is in French. I definitely realized this weekend that my Italian, German, and Spanish may be spotchy--but my French is basically non-existent. It's a shame. It's a good thing that I didn't need it too much this weekend, even though I trekked across the Swiss Alps and the French countryside via a 10 hour train ride each way to the Taizé Community Monastery. This place was absolutely incredible. I encourage any of you who could possibly make the journey there to do it, especially if you're under 30 because then it's way cheap. I mean, aside from the whole getting to France thing. Right, onward! continue! post! dazzle and sparkle with engaging narrative! and quit talking to yourself. But first, I have finally caught up on all the photos. The index is here, where you can see photos from Greece (Athens, Corinth, Delphi, Mycenae, Santorini, Olympia), Florence, Venice, and now Taizé as well. I made the journey with Angela, a girl I met on the Greece travel. So after a 12 hour journey there (due to a delay from a late train, resulting in 2 extra hours in Geneva), we came into the monastery enveloped in a deep fog. We arrived just in time for evening prayer. And so began the weekend. It's not exactly the type of weekend where a description of events chronologically would be that engaging, because in a lot of ways the place is about establishing a rhythm of life in communion with God. We did a lot of the same things many times. So much more interesting are my impressions related to the general elements of the time there.
First of all, we went for the weekend--but the place is actually designed to have you come for a week. Each service that I went to felt more and more like home. I guess that's the only way to describe it...familiar, comfortable, comforting, peaceful...home. And that was just a weekend, with a total of 6 services. I week would be so wonderful.
Probably the main element of the weekend was these services. They're quite simple really, and even after the first one I wasn't really moved or drawn to it. But like I said, after each one the presence of the Spirit was more and more evident. It consisted of lots of singing, chants in a sense. They were simple songs, one or two lines of phrases repeated over and over again--and songs in many different languages. There is a reading of scripture, and a prolonged time of silence (perhaps 10 minutes or so). The services last about an hour. I really loved them. The place had a great setting as well, as you can see from the first picture of the post--taken during the afternoon while empty. During the services, the boxes all have candles lit inside them, and the brothers sit in the center aisle marked off bshrubberyry. The church extends back quite a ways, as there are 4,000 plus people there in the summers. It was nice to be there in the winter, with only 150 or so for the weekend--and 40 for the week. Another thing that was cool about the weekend was the surrounding areas. It was cold, but that didn't stop us from venturing into the nearby town and into the wooded area surrounding the monastery. The village of Taizé was so beautiful--totally French. It was great to see the more small town side of things that I tend to miss just going to all of the bcitiestes. The wooded area, called The Source, was also so beautiful. Several of us went down there about sunset and saw some amazing views, a few of which I was able to capture by photo. I'll put a few on here, but really you should look at them all--because it's so hard to pick just a few!
Beyond that, the weekend held lots of spiritually rich conversations. It wpervadedded with a sense of peace and simplicity that is really quite rare. It was a rich time spiritually, which is something that I was definitely thirsting for. Not in the sense that there was any exact or profound moment of connection with God, or any particular revelation or word--but rather just a constant ministry of presence. It's been my favorite weekend of any thusfar.