Spiritual Deepening: Prayer on the Move, Taize, & Podcasts

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My spiritual life has been morphing and changing these past months.  Some of you may have noticed the Morning Reflections are much more sporadic.  Well good news! I have settled into a new routine and want to share.

My normal routine used to be the Daily Office, silence, and reflection at home each morning culminating into a written reflection.

Now because of a variety of reasons, all that has needed to change.  Part of it is no longer having a backyard so the dog can entertain himself with squirrels in the morning.  When you add the dog walk, the 35 minute commute to work, and the demands of a very busy job, an extended time of reflection at dawn is no longer feasible.

The new routine includes a lot of podcasts in the car while driving to work.  Prayer on the move!  It is also a wonderful leaning on the community for help.  In a very ancient practice, I no longer read the scripture, but am read to.  I listen in a different way – a more profound way.

And with the help of the community from Taize, I feel connected to the one, universal Church in deeper and profound ways as well.  My morning with the Taize podcast, often Monday, is a time of being showered by different languages, accents, and sounds.  I am gently reminded our community is so far greater than that which is understood.  I learn about the mystery of God at work.  Speaking a bit of French also has helped me, but when they read in German or whatever, I am not only transported in mind and spirit, I am  reminded about their aim to simplified readings that barely need a translation for the Spirit to shine through.

While I use a variety of podcasts during the week, including the Compline Service from St. Marks Cathedral in Seattle, the sermons from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Westminster Abbey, and the Audio Daily Office from the Trinity Mission, it is my time weekly with Taize that often opens up the world in a whole new light.

One of the joys of the Taize community, and it is reflected in the podcasts, is their commitment to inclusive worship that includes a very diverse and international set of visitors on any given week at their monastery in rural France.  This means that most of the readings are in multiple languages, normatively French, English, German, and then either Portuguese, Spanish or Korean, depending on the visitors that week.

The singing is often kept simple for the congregation with us singing in Latin or Greek, with repetitive sung phrases like “Alleluia” for the congregation as the verses are offered in different languages by the brothers.  The music actually is quite complex, but that is added in layers over time, broadened by the brothers themselves, who sit at the center of the congregation at worship, and almost function like a choir leading the people deeper into the heart of Christ.

And yet the simply responses allow and encourage me to join in, and I find myself singing along with them as I hurdle down the highway from Perrysburg to Findlay.

Below (I am hoping this works) I embedded the podcast from taize.fr for June 5, 2019.  It is a good example of these worshipful elements that transport me.

If you have any podcasts that have become spiritually enriching to you, or other spiritual practices you or your church are using, I would encourage you to share that in the comment section (or my replying to this email).

May God enliven your summer mornings.  And may the scripture come alive in you in whatever way God is calling you.  Find a rhythm that works and gets you in rhythm with God, and then share it with others.

-Matt

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