COME HOLY SPIRIT -- A Report from Taize 1

I have been gone for the past 10 days on a Young Adult leadership development trip to Taize.  Along with Rev. Larry Duggins (Director of the Missional Wisdom Foundation), Rev. Kyland Dobbins (Director of Mission Experience for CTC) and Leanne Johnson (Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the CTC), we have been leading a group of 20 young adults (ages 17 -- 30) on a spiritual pilgrimage to Taize, France. The brothers of the Taize Community consider the young people who flock to them from all over the world a gift from God.  They in turn nourish that gift with a spiritual care that is extraordinary.  The heart of Taize is three daily worship services anchored in prayer, song (which is often its own prayer), Holy Scripture and silence.  There is a phenomenally strong emphasis on listening to the Holy Spirit at Taize.  Song, silence, and scripture are vehicles and means by which we open ourselves to the Spirit's presence and guidance.  The morning and afternoon worship experiences are followed by small group Bible Study. As I soaked in the experience of Taize, I discovered myself going through a spiritual detoxification.  The challenges, struggles and problems of life and of my work as bishop did not disappear.  Rather they are put in perspective as I take time to open myself to the Holy Spirit.  In one sense, this is not new at all.  I hardly needed to travel to France to experience the importance of music, silence, and scripture in my Christian walk.  In another, greater sense, I feel like a desperately thirsty man staggering in from the desert and being offered a cold glass of refreshing water.  Steve Bryant's (the former editor of the Upper Room) maxim that most of us do not go to the high places enough once again rings true in my life.  I (we!!!!) need time for spiritual detoxification from the world's constant bombardment. I invite the reader, whereever you are, whoever you are, to take time for quiet, song and scripture.  Retreat if only for 15 minutes in a place of rest and let the Lord speak to you through the Holy Spirit.  The words of one of the songs (sung in Italian) share the divine message:  "The Lord restores you.  God does not push you away."