Last Thursday, students took a break from their hectic schedules to experience a Taizé worship service in Smith Chapel’s meditation room. Students took off their shoes and entered the candle-lit room to experience the Christian worship service focused on prayer, meditation, song and silence.
Religious Life Community’s intern of worship, Brain Williams, started the event with an introduction and a prayer of service. The introduction was followed by the ringing of bells, signaling the start of the Taizé service and an opportunity for students to center themselves. The students were given a moment of silence before singing the first song, “O Lord, Hear My Prayer”.
The rest of the service alternated between prayer, songs, readings and a final moment of silent meditation. The service did not include a sermon. Instead, students were meant to have a personal, spiritual, experience.
“The songs are very short that are repeated over and over. They’re maybe four to six bars, some are a little longer, but they’re repeated to the point where you internalize the song and are able to be one with yourself,” Williams said, “At that point you can really get into the space. It really is meditation, and it’s really meaningful to the group that started it, and it’s branched out from there.”
Although it is a Christian worship service, anyone is welcome to join, Christian or not. “It’s also for people that want to branch out and find something new,” RLC President Tricia Ingram said, “I think it’s good because it provides a space where people who don’t necessarily feel comfortable with coming to a normal worship service can maybe find a place they feel more accepted and a place where they can experience something new and feel welcome despite it being something completely different.”
At the end of the service, students exited silently, put on their shoes, and reflected on the experience.
“My favorite part was the silence,” junior Colby Baker-Thayer said, “I thought it was a good mixture of things, but I really liked the meditation.”
Junior Molly Monk agreed. “It reminded me a lot of Catholicism, so I thought that was very interesting. I liked the singing, and I enjoyed the meditation aspect a lot as well.”
“I think it’s just important to attend new and unique events because you never know whether you’ll love something or hate something until you try it,” Ingram said, “If someone’s looking for spiritual fulfillment, if they’re looking for a way to branch out, then you’ll never get to know if Taizé is the most inspirational thing in the world until you try it, and I think it could be for a lot of people.”
Currently, this service was a one-time event. “If there’s a huge interest we could offer it periodically. Right now, it’s just this one-time spiritual event, but we’ll see,” Williams said.