Here’s what I knew about Taize before I went…

It was in France. The music I loved came from there. It was sort of a monastery, but not exactly. It was ecumenical, which means that it did not belong to any denomination but welcomed brothers and sojourners from all Protestant and Catholic churches (and no doubt some thirsty seekers of other backgrounds, as well). This was unheard of in the monastic world, or even the church world, and the reason that they called their sanctuary The Church of Reconciliation. Taize was like a mecca for young people: in fact, their doors were primarily open to visitors 16-29. Those of us over 30 were welcome only during certain weeks and seasons, only for a short time, and never in groups larger than five. The living conditions were very simple. We would sleep in sleeping bags in bunks in shared rooms. There would be chores. My aunt and I prayed in advance that we wouldn’t have to clean toilets. I laughed at the ridiculousness of my decision to take my one golden ticket all the way to France where I would be asked to do the one chore I wouldn’t even do at home. God’s sense of the ironic is humbling.

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