• Going Deeper: Growing in Faith and Knowledge

A Place Amid the Noise

November 15, 2018

I visited Taizé as a high schooler. This past August, I visited Taizé as a chaperone with a group of ten Trinity teenagers.

 

Our bus rumbled up the hill in the French countryside and the memories all came pouring back. I couldn’t have drawn a map of the village, but at that moment everything was there in flashes: the hard church floor, yellow walls of the crypt, chattering in the meal line, the delight of baguettes and butter for breakfast.

 

I wouldn’t have used the word “formative” in high school. I would have said Taizé was a place to find myself, and then I would have apologized for sounding cheesy. You can probably imagine my nervousness to return. I didn’t want to find out my sacred space was just church camp on a dusty hill. Nor did I want to discover I had become an almost-thirty-year-old who relies on the crummy vending machine coffee before morning prayer.

 

I know I’m older now - the church floor was hard on my back and I needed that coffee. But Taizé is still the place I remembered. It offers young people a genuine and welcoming space to discover their faith. This week in August was an opportunity for me to extend that offer to Trinity’s youth, and to find myself again (apologies for the cheese).

 

Maddy Lucey, one of the ten teenagers who made the pilgrimage, offered this reflection:

 

Coming together in chanting, work and reflection, a lifelong community is formed every seven days.

 

The daunting cacophony of different languages spoken at Taizé creates an incredible net of culture, emboldening rather than separating the community. By the end of the week, I had formed lifelong friendships with people from across the globe.

 

Thrice daily, as thousands of quiet souls joined in prayerful song, an enthralling and absorbing wave of energy was produced. As one of seventeen Americans, I cherished the exposure to European culture and was shocked at how isolated we are by our idea of global superpower-dom. All our differences in accent, style or religion only served to bring us together.

 

By the end of the week, I reinvented my relationship to silence, and my mind.

 

I joined Trinity unsure that a church was my place. But if I hadn’t been at Trinity, I wouldn’t have had the chance to go to Taizé and I wouldn’t have found my place amid the noise. I used to run away from silent spaces, but I’ve found music within both the noise and the space between. I’ve grown to understand more about myself and the world by incorporating silence and sound in my everyday life. I find warmth and love in the pauses, taking every opportunity to quiet my mind and think more clearly. Brought together in peace, silence and reflection and a common search for self, and for something to define as God.

 

Please join Maddy, me, and others from our pilgrimage at this Sunday’s Forum to hear about more about our life-changing experiences at Taizé.

Faithfully,

 

Robby Bitting

Youth Mentor

(Maddy Lucey is 3rd from the left, Robby is 5th from the right)​

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