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Hallo again to all.

Nada te turbe, nada te espante,
quien a dios tiene nada le falta
Nada te turbe, nada te espante
solo Dios basta.

In the Anglican service we attended today, that Taizé chant was sung by the choir (with several soloists) during communion. The melody is simple and there are only 22 words, so the congregation easily picked it up and joined the singing. By the time communion was done, pretty much everyone in the room was singing along.

Anglicans all seem to know something about Taizé, but when pressed, are often not clear as to what exactly it is or how it relates to Anglican music or liturgy. The chant transcribed above shows the usual Taizé lyrics derived from a 16th-century Spanish poem by St Teresa de Avila and set to music by Jacques Berthier at the Taizé community in France. The poem itself is short, but the Taizé chant inspired by it is even shorter.

Wikipedia will explain to you that 'The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian monastic fraternity in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of more than one hundred brothers.' The name of the Community is the name of the bleak small town in which it was formed during World War II—a community in the town of Taizé.

Churches hold 'Taizé services'. Young pilgrims make pilgrimages to the Taizé community. The Community holds international meetings intended to appeal to people under 30. But to Anglicans, Taizé is not a lifestyle or the destination of a pilgrimage; it is the attribution given in the service leaflet to the beautiful and hypnotic hymns and chants and anthems that sometimes enrich our worship. Music is a hugely important part of a worship service for us, and Taizé is part of the rich musical tradition that feeds our souls.

We have found that Taizé music is more effective for us during communion when we do not know well the language used. Chanting simple and semantically distant syllables to hypnotic and repetitive music makes it easier for us to tune out the sights and sounds around us and focus on the reason we are there: to receive the body and blood of Christ.

We remember two comments made to us in the past. The first, from a die-hard conservative, was 'Taizé chants are no different from Hare Krishna chants, and neither belongs in a Christian church.' The second, from a now-dead retired bishop, was 'Carthusian Monks make Chartreuse for us; Ampleforth Abbey makes fruit brandy for us. The Taizé brothers make music for us.' We didn't respond to either. Write to us if you have a response to anything said (or unsaid).

See you next week.

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21 October 2018

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