Friday, February 19, 2010

Taize at the Convent

Today was one of those crazy days with lots of driving and lots of appointments. I was 10 minutes late for my first appointment, which made me 10 minutes late for everything. That said, it was also an awesome day filled with great productivity, and I'm always happy for that.

In the afternoon, Gerald and I met with Dad about ways we can combine our creativity into some future ministry ventures. Things are still in the early planning stages, but I'm excited about the possibility of the three of us working together.

In April, my friend Deanna and I will be leading worship at the Peterborough AWARE conference. One of the things the committee has asked for is a Taize service. I've done some Taize choruses before, but never a full service. As a bit of a research trip, Deanna and I decided to attend the Taize service at St. John's Convent in North York.

The convent's chapel is lovely - clean and modern with a beautiful acoustic. The chairs are arranged in semicircles on either side of the sanctuary, so we were able to face each other in the service. The congregation consisted of the sisters and many visitors. The music was lead by piano and violin.

Taize choruses are very simple - usually just 2 lines long - and are sung with many repetitions. After the first 2 or 3 times, you're able to memorize the song, and after that, it takes on a meditative quality. You focus on the words and on the thought behind the song. You listen to the other voices, and in doing so, we became a real singing community. We would sing each chorus 6-8 times. Sometimes the piano would bring us to a close, and sometimes, the group would naturally find an ending.

The service contained about 7 choruses (sung throughout the service), a scripture reading, a time of silence, a time of annointing, a chanted prayer, and a sung Lord's prayer. Even in the music, there was a sense of stillness. I was reminded of the verse, "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

After the service, Deanna and I went out to discuss the service and how we can use these tools in the women's conference. The conference will be a busy weekend, and I think a moment of stillness will be needed, just as I needed it today...

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