Saturday 5th December
Wait for the Lord
The Taizé Community in France was founded by Reformed pastor Roger Schutz who had helped Jews escape over the border into Switzerland during the war. It is an ecumenical community working with the young in particular with distinctive worship based on simple chants. Today’s song takes up the Advent theme of waiting.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-11
But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
Wait for the Lord, His day is near.
Wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.
© Les Ateliers and Presses de Taizé
You can hear the chant here:
Some 30 years ago, while I was a university student, I made two visits to Taizé which had a profound influence on my walk with Christ.
In Brother Roger’s own words, it is “a community where kindness of heart and simplicity would be at the centre of everything.” We readily understand the notion of “kindness of heart”, but how about “simplicity”?
Simplicity manifests itself in Taizé not only in the food, accommodation and facilities, but mostly linguistically.
Taizé’s guests usually stay for a week, so there is a constant change in the mix of languages. There is no default or ‘langue de préférence’. This means that in services, Bible-studies, and group discussions, songs are short, few in words, and readings just one or two verses.
If you are familiar with the practice of lectio divina, you will recognise similar elements in the Taizé style of worship and Bible study. And, as in any monastic tradition, in Taizé, silence is an important part of the common life with 10-15 minutes of silence in every service.
Today’s chant from Taizé has its roots in Psalm 27:14. The Psalm expresses longing for God in the many different aspects of life.
If you have ever had a pet dog, you will know how quickly they eat their dinner, but if you give them a bone, they will spend many happy hours gnawing it. For me, this is a metaphor which reflects the time-commitment, simplicity and joy to be found in waiting for the Lord.
When we read the great stories in the Hebrew Scriptures, we learn that God’s purpose is worked out in years, decades and generations.
In our modern times, we seldom need to wait and have grown impatient. We tend to fill every moment with activity, even in our church services. Have we stopped waiting for the Lord?
forgive us for not waiting for You:
when we speak to You, and we do not wait to listen to You;
when we ask You in prayer, and we do not wait to hear Your answer;
when we fill our lives with noise, and we do not wait for You in the silence;
This Advent, help us to wait for You, to keep watch and to take heart.