Last night I had the opportunity to experience my first full Taize service. As part of a round the continents promotion trip to promote an event in August 2015 focused on new solidarity, three brothers led a workshop in the Transitional Cathedral followed by a service of prayer and song.
The cathedral was full. The atmosphere was superb, with judiciously placed icons, colour filtered lighting and a just right amount of candles.
What was brilliant was the mix of the congregation: loadsa young people, lotsa older folk like me, too.
Something I very much appreciate about Taize songs - familiar from other occasions, even if this was only my first service - is their heavy Scriptural content. To worship God or to pray to God in these songs is also to read and hear the Word of God.
If all our services had the Taize mix of singable music, Scriptural song, symbolism, gentle spirituality, and symbolism that connects, might the future of Religion Down Under be brighter?
Note that I am not saying that if every service was a Taize service then all would be well. But there is something to learn from Taize services and apply to every service. Commenters might like to discuss this further below.
One particular moment in the service moved me greatly.
The icon of the cross was laid in the centre of the front area (where young people were seated on cushions) and people invited to come an kneel at the cross in prayer.
I went forward and as I prayed I was impressed by the folly of the cross. In a world of violence and terror, of manipulated power serving some and oppressing many, what do Christians have to fight against this? We only have Jesus on the cross. In the end, Christians offer the evil powers in our world our suffering and death.
What is the future of Religion Down Under? It is not to find power and strength in the way of the world but to refind Jesus on the cross and to kneel at his feet.
There the message of Taize to the world finds it footing. That message, expressed last night, is that the peoples of the world might be reconciled in peace. There is no way to reconciliation through violence or manipulation of power. It only comes through suffering and forgiveness.