Do you think it's possible to have 30,000 people welcoming the year in prayer? What if the majority of that group are youth? Does that seem possible? That is exactly what happened this year in Berlin at the European meeting of the Taize community.
The meeting actually begun on December 28 and ran until January 1. During those days all the boys and girls who chose to spend their last days of the year in prayer and reflection gathered in the German capital united in their love for Christ.
The Taize community is an ecumenical society of more than 100 brothers who take vows and commit themselves to the apostolate of reconciliation. It began in 1940 when brother Roger Schutz obtained a house in the French village of Taize. Since then this community has attracted lots of people mainly because of the simplicity of their way of life - which is reflected in their prayers based on the liturgy of the hours.
This meeting is based on prayer –in Taize’s own unique style but also on sharing. The community is committed to reconciliation – and that reconciliation has to begin with oneself then spread to the rest of the world. Participants are sent to host families. They spend the days in prayer with the other participants and the idea is they go back to their host and share the beauty of the reconciliation they have experienced.
This was not the first time this event took place. This was the 34th
edition and the majority of the youth who took part, say in the beginning it is difficult to believe you will find interior peace on the midst of the chaos of a big city. However, in the end they say you learn it is possible to be at peace everywhere.
This event also has moments of reflection on issues related with the interior life and the world in general. This year the motto was Learn to trust in Christ.
Using those words as a guide the youth wrote a reflection statement at the end of the meeting in which they say it is actually possible to believe. It is possible, they say, to rebuild the world if we all help and make an effort to understand each person by our side.
Taize is a hymn to interfaith dialogue. The notes of that hymn are the increasing numbers of young Christians who every year recognize it is possible to build a different world based on Christ’s love.
Yes, it’s possible to find God in a big city, in your normal life. As one of Taize songs says God is Love! Dare you to live for love, there is nothing to fear!
Photo courtesy of CNS/Reuters