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August 1st, 2011

Taize Worship – Taize Music – Taize Prayer

Taize Cross

What is Taizé worship? Why do so many people (up to 7000 a week – primarily young people) go to Taizé to pray? Why is the Taizé prayer so attractive?

There is certainly a multitude of answers but perhaps a key response lies in the fact that, at the heart of the prayer, there is a monastic community. Taizé is a little village in the south of Burgundy, France. In this village, over 60 years ago, Brother Roger founded a community devoted to prayer and living a parable of reconciliation within the church and the human family. The Community is made up of brothers from all the continents and major denominations who gather together three times a day, seven days a week, throughout the year to pray (whether there are 7000 young people present or only twenty).

Taize Prayer

The Taizé prayer is not simply a prayer form or model that can be adapted or inserted into any context with the same results. There are, however, characteristics of the Taizé prayer that can be useful in understanding its dynamics. The distinguishing marks include repetition and silence and the insertion of these into the liturgy. Repetition is not a new phenomenon nor unique to Taizé. The use of repetitive prayers is a long attested reality in the history of Christian spirituality and liturgy (for example, in the Jesus Prayer and the Rosary).

What is unique to the prayer of Taizé is the adaptation of the repetitive form to simple musical lines and core biblical texts that can be sung by a whole assembly of various nationalities, languages, and denominations. The duration of repetitive songs (whether in canon form or ostinato) during prayer is not to be timed nor the number of repetitions calculated beforehand. The assembly is to immerse itself in the simple but profound harmonies and let itself be carried by this sung prayer.

Silence is perhaps the second most important aspect of this particular prayer practice. In the middle of the prayer is a long period of silence (rather than a sermon or meditation). Maintaining silence is not a technique or method enabling some special communication with God. It is simply holding oneself in a presence and letting Christ, through the Holy Spirit, pray in us. There are not many short silences in a Taizé prayer rather the prayer moves along according to a certain rhythm through song, psalm and reading leading up to a longer silence (around 10 minutes) which then culminates in intercessory prayer and more song.

Taize Worship Video

Taize Music

Taize style music is very popular among college-age worshippers today. The hallmarks of Taize services are simplicity, peaceful spirituality, and music based upon the chant styles of the Taize monastery in France. Founded in the aftermath of the second World War by Brother Roger, who died in a prayer service in the midst of the community in August 2005, Taize is dedicated to peace and ecumenical action.

Taize music is both simple and sophisticated. Brother Roger, founder of Taize, seeks to add a prayerful element to music, and a musical element to prayer, believing firmly in the old dictum, ‘those who sing, pray twice’. The songs of Taize are designed to be sung by those who have difficulty carrying a tune, as well as those whose training and background in music extends to high levels.

Taize worship relies on psalms heavily, as well as periods of silence, Bible readings, and prayers.

The way Taize chants ‘work’ is that they are simple phrases and simple tunes that gradually reveal depth and sophistication by being repeated over and over. According to Brother Roger, all who follow this journey of the spirit remain alongside other people, adding their prayers and voices together. ‘They do not separate prayer and commitment.’

Want to know more? Goto Taize Official Website

July 18th, 2011

A Village That Refuses To Bury Its Dead

A Village That Refuses To Bury Its Dead

Love does not know bounds, so is the case with hatred too.

Orissa has been in the news, often for wrong reasons. The list is long with some of them making our heads hang in shame. In fact there is no comparison to what was done to Graham Staines and his two sons at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district on 23 January 1999. A maniac mob blocked the doors of their station wagon where they were sleeping, poured petrol all over, and shouted political slogans as the father and two sons were burned alive.

As if this was not enough, the same barbaric elements unleashed violence on the hapless tribal Christians in Kandhamal following the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides on 23 August 2008. The marauders ran amok, violating the tribal women, looting their properties, torching their houses and killing all those who were too weak to resist. In all nearly 200 people lost their lives in the violence.

That is why Orissa does not surprise me anymore. Yet a recent incident has stirred me once again in spite of the obvious contempt I do have for the state. At a remote village in the state, the majority Hindu group refused to allow the burial of a three-year-old Dalit Christian girl who died following some health complications.

The girl living at Jinduguda village, 15 km away from Malkangiri, a district in the southern part of Orissa, fell sick and was taken to a nearby health centre on 27 October 2010. The doctor advised the parents to take the child to a nearby hospital. However the patient developed more complications and died while being treated there.

The helpless parents brought the body of the girl back to their village for burial. The Hindus, who form the majority at the village, refused to allow them to bury the girl at the village. There are only 15 Christian families living at the village.

The distraught parents took the body to Malkangiri to seek help for burial. Finally the matter was reported to the local police. The parents, with the dead body in their hands, waited for the police to find a way-out. When the body started to stink, some sane elements in the community managed to prevail over the obstinate ones at the village and gave a quiet burial for the girl.

If anyone thinks this is an isolated incident, they are badly mistaken. Bargaining over the dead has been a regular phenomenon wherever caste feelings run high. In fact there are churches where separate routes as well as divided cemeteries exist to bury their dead – one for the high castes and the other for the lower sections.

Even in Kerala, God’s own country, the reality is no different. The lower sections and also new converts have no say in the running of the Church. They are kept on the margins, being denied of even normal human dignity. Separate seating and separate cemetery dots the landscape of Kerala Church.

A recent incident in central Kerala makes one sit up wondering about the extent of rot that has set in. A Dalit in his late fifties, who had been ailing for quite some time, died without receiving the last sacraments. In fact, he had not been attending the church for many years in protest against the discriminatory practices within his own church. And the leadership in the church did not take kindly to his way of expressing anguish. They ostracised him along with his family, stubbornly refused to reach out even in their times of crisis. Even when he died, they refused to bury him in the cemetery. Finally with the intervention of some sensible elders, he was buried just outside the cemetery.

This is happening in spite of the fact Christ has come mainly to give a new identity to all those who live on the margins – the tax collectors, the fishermen, and even the prostitutes. It is time there arose a new theology of action that could cleanse the Church within and without.

Remember the words that Christ spoke while addressing the synagogue at the beginning of his public ministry. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he appointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden…” (Luke 4:18-19)

– – – written by Dr .George Karimalil

July 5th, 2011

Eden Life Magazine

Eden Life Magazine

Eden life magazine is a wonderful service by Eden Life organization. It was born out of a revelation of the Great Commission truth in light of God’s original intention for creation as seen in Genesis 1:26-28. We are dedicated at teaching people of all works of like principles based on our fundamental teachings, that will enable them excel and live a prosperous life.

The main focus of Eden Life is to take people back to the place in the beginning at The Garden of Eden (Restoration of the Edenic Glory). The bible describes The Garden as a place of complete wholeness, peace, prosperity and all round serenity. All that man ever needed was available in The Garden. We believe the earth as it was in the Garden is God’s taste, the fullness of the earth’s beauty may help to create a mental picture of The Garden of Eden.

We believe Eden has been restored in the hearts of men, and when there’s an overflow of this “Eden Life” from our hearts, we begin to establish Eden as a physical garden in our surroundings.

Vision: The vision of Eden Life is the restoration of the Glory as it was in the Garden of Eden. Lives and families that are characterized with bodily health, financial prosperity, holiness, love, divine wisdom for all situations, and a heart that gives to meet the needs of others.

Mission: Eden Life will achieve the restoration of the Edenic Glory through primarily by establishing the gospel of Christ in the hearts of man, to restore Eden first in the hearts of mankind, as well as impacting the socio-economic world so as to bring a systemic change in the way businesses are run in the community as well as facilitate a healthy social environment. We will establish small groups and teaching centers through which we will:

1. Create a dependency on the Holy Spirit for wisdom, direction, power by practical teachings on His person
2. Set a standard against injustice and unrighteousness in society
3. Establish college students in the formative years of life Edenic principles
4. Raise people who will be a spiritual and economic force to be reckoned with by teaching principles from the Bible and establishing them in businesses

At Eden Life we have a vision to impact 1 Billion lives with this initiative. By faith we will seed the kingdom in the hearts of as many people as we can in this generation, and we will leave a heritage for generations to come. This organization has a goal to impact a billion lives because, it is not a man-made vision. It reflects the heart of God to have all men saved and come to the knowledge of truth, Christ died for the sins of the world (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9). With a vision bigger than every individual member of the initiative, it provides the opportunity for our partners and all members to grow into the vision, and with the right actions, it is guaranteed to carry on continually.

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