25th – 29th September 2019
We welcomed the brothers of Taizé to Cape Town. Their ecumenical community was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger in the village of Taize, France. There are about a 100 brothers from over 30 countries. The underlying theme of Taizé is Reconciliation – the bringing together of Christians from all over the world to worship together and seek a genuine unity which goes beyond Christian doctrine.
While many South Africans were carrying out zenophobic attacks on the businesses of foreigners in the country, there were those who were expressing genuine hospitality to peoples and cultures different from their own.
We welcomed four young people to our home in Woodstock. Each day started with breakfast and then we took them to the gathering place of worship, St Mary’s church for morning worship. From there they were taken in two groups to meet places and people of hope. They visited Noah, community homes for retired people in Woodstock, Loaves and Fishes, which helps to rescue people from drugs and alcohol, St Anne’s Home, a home for abused women and children, The Woodstock hospital which houses people affected by the gentrification of Woodstock, and St Mark’s church District 6 to hear the stories of the people who once lived there.
At 11.00 am the pilgrims were collected by bus and taken to the large gathering at St Joseph’s College in Rondebosch for a meal and an afternoon of workshops on many subjects relating to Christian Spirituality. Their evening closed with an meal and gathered worship in the main marquee.
What is so attractive about Taizé worship is the reflective nature of the liturgy, and under-girding the psalms and words of scripture are the beautiful and simple chants. The chants are catholic and inclusive as they are in many languages and they are sung over and over and have the gentle effect of guiding the singers into a deep silence at the centre of their being. The silence seems to me to be the purpose of the whole service: “to be still and know that I am God “
Every year thousands of young people gather at Taizé to experience this non judgemental worship and to experience profoundly the love of God. A love which they will take to their homes and to their communities.
We did not come from Taizé to give you a message from somewhere else. It is you who represent the real message: it is embodied by your presence here. I would like us all to be able, at the end of our meeting, to ask ourselves, in our prayer and in exchanges with others: ‘What steps can I take, at my level, to build a society where fraternal love and reconciliation are realities?’ Of course, we cannot pretend to have solutions to problems that are beyond our control. But a question like this will keep us alert, and ready to be peacemakers in our daily life. – Br. Alois, Prior of the Taizé Community
Taize webpage: https://www.taize.fr/en