I was listening to a live broadcast from the Taizé Community this morning. It’s the season of Advent so images of dark and light feature prominently. One song stood out for me: Dans nos obscurités – Within our darkest night. The village of Taizé has seen its fair share of dark times and so has its namesake community. During World War 2 it suffered terrible deprivation, some who could, left to find work, leaving only a handful of elderly people and no one to farm the poor land. Brother Roger, the founder of the Taizé Community, arrived in the middle of that people, to begin a simple life of prayer and practical support focussed upon reconciling people, reconciling differences.
It was a terrible time for France, a country divided between German occupation and free but in dreadful straits. Brother Roger helped Jewish refugees cross the line into free France then Switzerland. After the war the tiny community befriended German prisoners in a local camp. A dark time but the glimmer of the light of hope for a better future was already burning. The community of Brothers grew from different denominations – protestant – catholic – anglican – lutheran – determined to live a life of prayer together. The light grew.
Young people saw the light. It drew them like moths to a flame. The community’s work flourished. At the time of Brother Roger’s death many thousands from all over the world spent time with the brothers every week. There was always a welcome. There still is.
Brother Roger died on 16th August 2005, killed with a knife in the middle of the evening prayer by a woman with mental health issues. Within our darkest night. The last few years have seen terrorist attacks all over France and Europe. France is on high alert again after such an attack in a Strasbourg Christmas Market. The Taizé Community continues to pray for reconciliation, for the healing of divisions between God’s people. Within our darkest night, you kindle the fire that never dies away, that never dies away .http://taize.fr