A brilliant update from Richard Nihill on the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust Pilgrimage to Taizé:
I am writing today’s blog sitting in the Church of Reconciliation rejoicing in the opportunity just to be. Surrounded by people waiting to worship, surrounded by young and old from around the world, and surrounded by God’s presence and love.
When I first arrived with our young people on Sunday I was concerned about several things: whether they would embrace or flee from the international character of Taize, how they would react having to attend three services a day, how they would cope with the silence, and how we might fill the rest of their time and occupy them.
From the first few hours of our pilgrimage here I have watched our young people worship in languages they’ve never spoken; greet like old friends students from America, from Sweden, from Italy; and share with depth and honesty in our international Bible study groups.
The services have become a perfect punctuation to the day. Often the young people are the ones who remind the leaders that it is time to be there. We have all loved the opportunity to sing the chants and let the music inspire us and the words take route within.
The silence at the heart of the services has been an element that we have all grown to appreciate. What started as daunting is now a source of nourishment. Just today one of the girls remarked that at each service it seems to get shorter. A group of them discussed how Taizé was giving them a perspective of seeing silence as a blessing and that they wanted to prioritise more of it in their lives.
And finally, what of the question of how we might occupy our time here? Well that is most definitely filled, filled with the presence of God. Filled with God’s presence as we worship in the chapel, in both the silence and in the sound. Filled with God’s presence in our brothers and sisters as we discuss, as we socialise and as we learn from one another. Filled with God’s presence as the volunteers serve us and as we serve each other, with a smile or by kind words.
But I find myself left now with another concern – how do we incorporate this experience into our daily lives? In the midst of a hectic existence how do we live the present moment? Perhaps the answer is in these words from today’s midday service; ‘as Peter writes; Above all, love each other deeply’.
Lay Chaplain, Archbishop Holgate’s