A service of Taizé at DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church

Last night I went to Dupage Unitarian Universalist Church because I found out via their Facebook page that they were going to have a Taizé service.

Taizé is usually a gathering that has elements of chanting, candle lighting, responsive reading, shared silence, and some form of a guided meditation.

In fact, the Taizé service I was a part of incorporated all of these elements. Initially I was a bit thrown off by the shared silence, but I was quickly relieved because despite several shared silence’s, they were no more than five minutes a piece. That I can do (and maybe someday I can level up to Quaker status).

The opening chant went as follows; come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. Ours is no caravan of despair. Come, yet again, come. (SLT #188)

I found beauty in this chant, and I did what I could to figure out which part of “whoever you are” most aligned with, I believe in that instance I was a “wanderer” and maybe perhaps I am that still.

From there a candle was lit in the center of our gathering. Apart from the dusk setting in quickly, the candle was a nice centering item for when my eyes were open.

Given that our shared silence time wasn’t that long, I found myself more engaged as a result. I mentally prepared myself for the night by mentally chanting a Latin phrase I’ve picked up in my own studying and partaking in Taizé; veni sancte spiritus, come holy spirit.

The highlight of my evening partaking in the service was the guided meditation. Our guide led us (with nature sounds in the background) into a deeper place found within. It’s hard to put into words, but I lived there and thrived there, it may have felt like a lifetime but in actuality it was probably twenty minutes altogether. I caught myself crying a little, because it was beautiful to simply be aligned mind+body+spirit, to simply BE.

After the service I made my way to the labyrinth that’s outside the building. The above picture is from that, as the path is illuminated when the sun is no longer out. It was another wave of much needed introspection and silence entwined. I took my time and meditated all the while, mentally chanting veni sancte spiritus.

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Unfortunately they’re going to be taking a break from this service until October. Until then I’ll have to partake in Taizé on my own or find others to do it with. It’s not often that I am stirred so deeply, so passionately, but I am willing to engage that deeper part of me that resides in the silence.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

Of sushi and the unpackaging of prayer

Last week I made some sushi for myself for the first time ever from scratch. I bought the sushi rice, the seaweed, tuna, salmon, sweetfish roe…and as I made it, I mentally meditated and drifted into prayer, and within the centering of myself I saw in my mind’s eye prayer and how I should give praying a try.

I do communicate with God, which is for all intensive purposes what prayer is, communication with God. Yet I have a habit of thanking God in general terms, but as I rolled the sushi (which I’m actually pretty good at) I got prayer from a sushi point of view.

Sushi, as many of you know, is comprised of the seaweed/rice/some fish or shellfish or related and all of these ingredients make sushi what it is. You can’t remove one ingredient, say the rice, and still call it sushi…and so as I return to praying on a regular basis (to change myself, to change what I can’t via social justice, or even just to BE) with thanking God for all the parts that make for the whole and the whole itself. I’ve already entered in to this form of prayer and I find myself connected, I find myself in tears of happiness in doing this.
Prayer like sushi, who would’ve thought that one of my favorite foods in the whole world would serve me in a way of coming back to prayer? 🙂

~Nathanael~