Taizé prayer service on third Wednesdays

Candlelight, periods of silence and music from guitar and flute mark the new Taizé-style evening prayer being offered at 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.

Short, simple prayers chanted to sacred, yet easily learned tunes evoke the human yearning for connection to the Divine – a distinguishing feature of this worship inspired by the Taizé monastic community in France. One example of a sung prayer is the Taizé chant “Veni Sancte Spiritus,” with just five eager words: “Holy Spirit, come to us!”

Readings from the Bible keep the focus on God’s word. Peace musicians lead the worship with music sung in harmony.

“The distinctiveness of Taizé is the simple songs that are repeated frequently,” said Peace’s pastor, the Rev. Eileen Smith Le Van. She’s excited to be offering this short prayer service that will leave participants feeling lifted up and at peace.

All are welcome, regardless of religious tradition or affiliation. Peace’s Taizé service coordinates with another Taizé-style worship offered at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at Nevada City United Methodist Church.

Born during WWII

The Taizé community developed in the 1940s in the village of Taizé, in German-controlled France. Members helped Jewish refugees fleeing, ministered to prisoners of war and attended orphans, according to the Taizé community’s website. Swiss-born, Protestant founder Roger Schutz sought to form a community of men who would live simply and celibately, in service to God.

“Ever since I was young, the intuition that a life of community could be a sign that God is love, and love alone, has never left me,” wrote “Brother Roger” on the Taizé website before his death in 2005.

The Taizé brothers’ message especially appeals to young people, who gather at the community in the tens of thousands, according to news reports. Music written for the prayer services has become popular in churches around the world.

Silence forms a part of those services – but it can be uncomfortable for modern seekers accustomed to constant engagement. In Peace’s Taizé-style worship, silence invites participants to deepen their engagement with God.

“Silence teaches us that prayer is not only a conversation involving words, but is also a stance of openness and listening for the voice of God,” reads “Worship Formation & Liturgical Resources” from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Learn more

PEACE Lutheran Church is at 828 W. Main St., Grass Valley, Calif. – near downtown.

Learn more about PEACE here.