Taiz� at  
 St. Andrew's
 Seattle

a periodic newsletter | Volume 1, Number 1 | August 2014

 

Remembering Brother Roger 

 

The old church in the village of Taiz� with the grave of Brother Roger on far right
The old church in the village of Taiz� with the grave of Brother Roger on far right

As I write this, I am reflecting on the special significance of August 16th for those of us connected by prayer and communion with the Ecumenical Community in Taiz�, France. On this day nine years ago Brother Roger died a violent death in the Church of Reconciliation. Like any senselessly violent death, we may find Brother Roger's death so incomprehensible because Brother Roger himself was such a person of reconciliation and peace. Yet, in our world violence can and does strike anyone, regardless of who they are and what values they hold. It happened to Jesus. It happens in faraway in places like Gaza and Israel today. It happens nearer in Ferguson, Missouri, and it happens very near in our own neighborhoods in Seattle as well.

 

What this invites us, I think, is to consider how we can attune ourselves to a different way of living, a way that chooses peace and moves toward reconciliation rather than violence as a means of resolving differences. Brother Roger spoke often of seeking a deeper peace within ourselves so that our first reaction to injury or hurt is not striking back at the other, but finding ways of keeping our hearts open to the other. We can do this in many ways, but they all move us toward opening our own hearts to a deep peace which, as St. Paul says, passes all understanding. We can do this by learning not to lash out at the other when we're hurt or offended but to wait, to pause, to remember who we are and who we want to be. We can do this by learning to hold the other in prayer that they and we may be transformed by this deep peace into a reconciling people, people willing to stay in relationship even in the midst of hurt and pain.

 

Brother Alois of Taiz� wrote about this earlier this week when he said,

 

Brother Roger loved to invite people to joy. He did not think so much of those great moments of happiness which we all know but which remain short-lived. The joy he was talking about seems to me closer to peace, the peace we experience when we are united inwardly and not divided, torn apart.

 

We cannot create this inner unity ourselves; we have to receive it. We feel it especially when we know we are loved.

 

Brother Roger knew this while living in France as a young man during World War II - God's love of him and of all humanity. This led him in his determination to form a community of people who can make a reconciling difference, not with money or power or position, but with love found by living within the heart of God. We who live in Seattle, far from Taiz� yet closely connected in the Holy Spirit, are called to know we too are loved by God and we too can bring a reconciling presence here and now, by being united inwardly and outwardly with all humanity, our brothers and sisters in the heart of God.  

 

Taiz� cross Fr. Terry Steig, Priest and Pastoral Leader

 

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Community Responses

How I First Learned About Taiz�

 

Sanctuary at Taiz� Community
Sanctuary at Taiz� Community

I stumbled on Taiz� while I was looking for materials for an adult education class for church. I discovered a DVD called, "Taiz�, That Little Springtime."  As I watched the extraordinary history of the Taiz� community, I was so impressed with the compassion, complete welcoming acceptance for everyone and the deep gentleness and kindness so obvious in the community founder, Brother Roger Schut, and his colleagues. I was moved by Brother Rogers's great compassion for the orphans he and others brought to live at Taiz� and the loving dedication all of the brothers showed in their ministries abroad, and toward all the flocks of young adults who have come to Taiz� looking for friendship, acceptance and spiritual experience in a holy place.

 

I didn't really notice Taiz� music much until I began to be in the midst of it at St. Andrews. As I enjoyed the worship, I found the wonderful harmonies and words spoke to my heart about those things I saw in that community and in the best of who we are as Church - hope, compassion, hospitality and generosity of God among us.

 

Betsy Seeger                                                                                                             

 

Taiz� Sunday Evening Prayer

Open Your Heart to the Christ Within

Sundays at 6:00 pm


 

St. Andrew's Church

111 NE 80th St. | Seattle, WA 98115 | 206-523-7476

 

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