Ash Wednesday brought me to a Taizé church service this year. Surrounded by candlelight, the pastor welcomed us all and explained Taizé is little village in the south of Burgundy, France. In this village, over 60 years ago, Brother Roger founded a community committed to prayer and reunion within the church and the human family. Taizé interjects short melodies in between Scriptural readings. Music laces together harmony with the intent to promote focus on God.
A cantor, violinist, flutist, and pianist centered our prayers. Although the beginning of Lent, we were reminded it is okay to cherish our joys while diminishing our backwardness.
The Taizé style service is rather modern in context, started in the 20th century. Oddly, the popular Ash Wednesday took many centuries to develop and didn’t become formal until the 12th century.
Knowing the background of traditions keeps our brains from believing certain traditions are laws. We can break traditions or start new ones, it’s just best to remember the goal, to praise God.