People shake our hands. People smile to us. People invite us for lunch. So the temptation to feel like the glorious missionaries of Taize was right at the door. Luckily we also sometimes face a non-applauding audience. A dozen of teenagers were obliged to attend our Taize workshops and prayer, as it was the part of their religious education. Most of them were “when may I finally go home”- types. In the playful intro game they said they would primarily take to Taize iphone, notebook and tablet. After watching a short film about Taize we worked in three small groups to give the youngsters some food for thought and share our Taize experiences. All over the room I spread small cards with the suggestions of what you can say in a personal prayer. They walked around and were to choose the best ones to use when they happen to pray. It was loud and we had to push our way through laughter and silly remarks. As the ambassadors of Taize we could feel a bit like Chiquita guys with bananas standing on the street with other people giving us some puzzled looks of “what do those people from another planet have in common with us?’
In this atmosphere we were to start a normal Taize prayer in a small room with 20 rowdy youths. It was my turn to be in charge of the prayer. Initially the prayer was hardly louder than giggles, whispers and silly noises. I decide here. Interrupt the prayer? Give them a teacher-look? ‘No Maciek, stay calm and keep praying ‘ – the inner voice told me. The silence part ensued but the silence wasn’t silent. A bunch of boys sitting at the very front made fun of it all, though they weren’t just loud. What shall I do? Silence them? Ask them out of the room? ‘Do you job Maciek, don’t get provoked’. I just slightly shortened the silence. Close to the end of the service, instead of reading the reflection I decided to spontaneously use the words of prayer that my inner voice whispered to me. As I started to speak and not read, I was astonished to hear the silence. Just a few thoughts up to the loving Father. Just one more Taize song to HIM and that was it. There was a temptation to shorten the prayer because of them and they just needed 20 minutes to calm down .
Feedback from one of the participants;
“I realized that Taize is a place where even without internet you can meet interesting people”
The game was worth it. Lord. Thank you that you didn’t let us give up in the middle.