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If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” -St. Francis of Assisi

“‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5

Prior to Wednesday, I had not been to the Taize service at St Peters in quite a while. This week, I decided that if I was going to go, I was going bring my little guy Renard (pictured upper right) to the service with me. Normally he and I don’t go out without my wife and my other little guy Fernando (see my gravatar and my header photo) unless I am taking him to the vet, so I was hesitant. I worried openly that it would be stressful for him. My wife made a very good point, telling me that if I was nervous or stressed about him being that way, he would be that way for sure. So we suited up, got in the car, and went to the church.

Arriving at the church, I scooped Renard up out of his car seat and carried him into the chapel at St Peters. One of the perks of having chihuahuas is that they are easy to carry. Both of my boys are bigger than most chihuahuas, not overweight mind you just with bigger frames, but 8.8 pounds is still quite manageable! The folks at the service were delighted to see us, especially delighted to see Renard! Before the service, Fr Paul asked us to come up to the front and he gave Renard a blessing and Renard was totally fine with it! For about the first 20 minutes, Renard looked back at the doors, I think he was wondering when my wife was going to show up! Once the music started, he seemed very interested in our music director Joe and he seemed to like the music. I was singing the songs and massaging him, which seemed to work out well for both of us. We were both pretty chill.

The pinnacle of the service was during the last song, Surrexit Christus, as I was singing he looked up at me and gave me kisses. The simple affirmation that he was comfortable and even perhaps enjoying himself. And so was I.

Our pets are a gift from God. We should always, always remember to treat them as such.

Peace

Chris

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Over the last month and a half or so, I have disciplined myself to a commuting regimen of sacred music. I ride the train into work, so I have the blessed luxury of taking time to think, pray, read and write during my commute. At least, I do when I don’t have to work on the commute. Anyhow, my regimen has consisted of the Taize Community Choir’s album Songs of Taize – O Lord hear my prayer, always starting with Bless the Lord, in the morning. I find that listening to Taize music before I get to the office puts me in a very faithful mindset, and focuses me to pray on any of the challenges I know I will face.

The commute home has generally consisted of a Mass in one form or another, or a few hymns and then a Mass. Lately, I have been quite fond of Quire of Voyces’s Latin Mass album, which begins with the Missa Pange Lingua. The Kyrie begins with the opening verses of this blog’s namesake hymn, and proceeds into a beautiful Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. I usually make it through a Mass and a half before I arrive at the train station. On the flip side, when I listen to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, I think I barely make it through all of the different parts of the Gloria! 🙂 However, not too long ago I loaded Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Vivaldi’s Gloria into my car’s CD player, so I am never without sacred music when I am on the road!

Would love to hear from my readers on what you listen to!

Peace

Chris

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I love the wind and string instruments! I love everything about this video! Thanks be to God!

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“For this I will extol you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name.” -Psalm 18:49

We had an interesting situation at our 10am service this morning. I ended up at the 10am service because I had to work this morning, or at least be on-call early. Our music director is taking a couple of well-deserved weeks off, but this morning we had two Baptisms and we enlisted our Spanish speaking music director Ramon for the service.

A few moments into our opening hymn, Here I Am Lord, I was a bit confused. Ramon was singing the song in Spanish, and I was briefly back in pre-epiphany land. Having quickly realized that brief regression, I realized the brilliance in what was going on. Ramon was leading the song, period, music and lyrics. And we non-Spanish speaking folks followed along in English according to his cadence. It was brilliant! The whole “not about me” thing is working out quite well for me indeed!

During Communion, Ramon led I am the Bread of Life in Spanish and on his guitar. The hymn was not printed in the bulletin, but we knew it, and we sang it, and it was so, so, so beautiful. It is my favorite Communion hymn.

God has given me the grace to realize and actualize this epiphany, and to bring me back to this church with a new heart and a new spirit.

Thanks Be To God.

Peace.

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Enjoy, and consider starting a Taize service at your church!  I listen to Taize every morning on my commute!  I love the wind instruments in this video!

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“The exchange with God becomes real for us in prayer: by his Holy Spirit, God comes to dwell within us. By his word and by the sacraments, Christ gives himself to us. In return, we can surrender everything to him.”
-Brother Alois, Letter from Cochabamba

Worship in the style of the Taize community is a beautiful, meditative, and deeply prayerful experience. I was first introduced to this blessing in the fall of 2008 when my priest started a service. You can read more about that topic here. I figured I would take some time and post a how-to and introduce folks to this service. I would encourage everyone to visit the Taize Community web site for more detail.

First, the setting is important. The photo above incorporates all of the suggested aspects of the setting. Candles, icons, a cross, and an open Bible in the chapel. A meditative setting allowing for focal points for prayer. If you are able to dim, or even turn off, the normal lighting, all the better. Taize songs normally consist of two line refrains, repeated by attendants, and any additional lyrics are normally sung by the cantor.

The service should open with one or two Taize songs. After the songs, part of a Psalm is sung or said. See the Taize Prayer for Each Day page for content. The Psalm is followed by a reading, normally from one of the Gospels. Some churches use the prior Sunday’s readings as the basis for the Psalm and the Gospel, but you want them to be relatively brief and widely accessible. This service is, after all, an ecumenical service!

Following the reading, another Taize song or two. You can consider choosing the songs based on the content of the reading. And then the silence. The silence is vital, and as you build this ministry you can extend it longer and longer. The silence allows for deep prayer, remember that Elijah heard God in the silence, not the noise that preceded it! Silence in between the other parts of the service is encouraged as well!

Next come the prayers/intercessions/thanksgivings. Again, you can use what is suggested on the Taize site or your own Prayers of the People. Then comes the Lord’s Prayer, and then the final prayer. Finally, any number of songs to close out the worship.

One of the beautiful things about the Taize songs is that in most cases you dictate how long they are sung for. You will find recorded versions of Jesus, Remember Me that vary in length from 3 to 10 minutes!

If your music director isn’t available to lead the music, and no one volunteers, you can certainly experiment with recorded music. That is how we started at St Peters, and I always enjoyed it!

Peace.

Oremus!

Jesus our joy, you want us to have hearts that are simple, a kind of springtime of the heart. And then the complications of existence do not paralyze us so much. You tell us: don’t worry; even if you have very little faith, I, Christ, am with you always.

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My former parish has a wonderful Taize service on the first Wednesday of every month except for August. The heart and soul of this service, our music director, sent this clip out in lieu of this month’s service. Enjoy, and consider starting a Taize service at your church!

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