A time for listening
I took an unplanned and unexpected four days off this week from blogging. Some of it was due to approaching deadlines: an article due at the end of this month and the fall semester starting in less than two weeks. Some of it was due to a slow news weeks. Upon reflection, however, much of it was due to the shocking murder of Brother Roger Schutz in Taizé, France.
For those of you who do not know who he was, Brother Roger was the founder of an ecumenical Christian monastery during WWII cum refuge for Jews escaping Naziism. Over time the monastery grew in size as more brothers joined, and in the 1950s young people from all over Europe and gradually the world began to gather. Brother Roger didn't gather these people; he never advertised or recruited. They came of their own accord, drawn through word of mouth. At times more than 5000 people are worshipping at Taizé and sharing in the lives of the brothers.
Brother Roger was the moving force behind the now world-known Taizé liturgy or worship style, focused upon meditative song and silence. As The Economist observed in its obituary this week, "Listening, rather than preaching, was the essence of Taizé." Blogs are all about talking, and I have talked a great deal over these many months and even years. As I come off a year's sabbatical and the fall semester begins, I will be talking a good deal more. And yet Taizé shows us that we must spend our time listening as well.
So until September 8 -- the beginning of the fall semester at my college -- I am going to be listening rather than talking. I hope to meet you again then.