meeting Jesus

I led the monthly Taize service in the cathedral last night. This is a calm, meditative and contemplative service with lots of pauses and silences. I enjoy this service as it allows people to simply take their time with God.

I changed the format a little last night. usually the format is that of chants interspersed by two readings and silences after the readings. Last night I chose to replace one of the readings with a guided meditation which people seemed to find quite powerful. The theme for this month was ‘meeting Jesus’.

I used a meditation that I have adapted and used before from a very old youth work book called ’40 Devotions that work with Youth’ which is a little gem I pull off the shelf now and again. A number of people asked for a copy of the ‘Meeting Jesus’ meditation and so if you are interested you can download it from here.

sometimes …

I led the Taize Prayer at the cathedral on Sunday night. This is a short, contemplative service which I love due to its simplicity and space to dwell with God. I also love the fact we are now holding this in the nave of the cathedral which means the place does look quite stunning because of the candles.

The theme this month was prayer and I was made to think by this writing of henri Nouwen:

There are as many ways to pray as there moments in life. Sometimes we seek out a quiet spot and want to be alone, sometimes we look for a friend and want to be together. Sometimes we like a book, sometimes we prefer music. Sometimes we want to sing out with hundreds, sometimes only whisper with a few. Sometimes we want to say it with words, sometimes with a deep silence. In all these moments, we gradually make our lives more of a prayer and we open our hands to be led by God even to places we would rather not go.

Taize is held on the first Sunday of the month at 8.00pm in the cathedral … why not check out the next one.


The monthly Taize service happens at the cathedral on Sunday night at 8.00pm.
It’s a chilled service with candles and Taize chants.
It’s well worth checking out if you have not been before.
Like the new poster designed by Sam as well using a photo taken at a recent Taize service in the cathedral.

a combination of intelligence and feeling

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of leading the Taize service with Colette (a member of the cathedral who will be starting her ‘vicar training’ as Westcott in September) in the cathedral. We hold this service each month and people come from all over the diocese for this reflective service. I particularly enjoy the time as there is a lot of space for prayer or silence in between the repetitive chanting that the Taize community is known for.

The cathedral’s format for Taize follows a simple pattern of chant, bible reading, silence, chant, other reading, silence, chant, prayer, chant, blessing and then a glass of wine. The readings are always challenging in some way but the reading I was handed for this service resonated with me in a way that brought tears to my eyes. The quote is from ‘The Enduring Melody’ by Michael Mayne. I have not come across this but this Observer review causes me to view the reading even more poignantly than I did last night.

I read the following quote from the book:

‘So what must ‘being Church’ mean if it is to meet the needs of the age in which our grandchildren are growing up?  It will mean creating spaces in which people may catch a glimpse of the awesome holiness of God as well as the mystery of his vulnerability and compassion.  It will seek to express the traditional quintessence of the Gospel in ways that satisfy the intellect as well as the heart: using words and employing images and metaphors which speak to both but which also speak where reason runs out of words.  Like art and poetry and drama and falling in love, it will demand a combination of intelligence and feeling.  It will mean stilling the demand that we should sign up to some credal formulary, allowing people who have always found themselves in that borderland between faith and scepticism to go on exploring, but within, not outside, the worshipping community.  It will mean loving God’s world, but learning to stand obliquely to the traffic of values dictated by the media and the consumerist world of self-interest, learning to redress the balance with the Gospel values of forgiveness, reconciliation, empathy, equity and self-denying love.  The eucharistic mystery of bread as opposed to the satanic mystery of money.

I guess I was especially moved by this reading last night as it sums up in many ways our dreams for the gathering – particularly that sentiment of stilling the demand that we should sign up to some credal formulary, allowing people who have always found themselves in that borderland between faith and scepticism to go on exploring, but within, not outside, the worshipping community.

That seems very easy to say, or to write, but to achieve it … well I am finding that to be just a little more difficult … maybe because it does, indeed, need that combination of both intelligence and feeling. The trouble is, I think, too many people seem to think that intelligence and feeling, or head and heart need to be separate. Often we hear … ‘my heart says yes but my head says no’ …. but  – are not both, head and heart, created by God? And if both are created by God are both not equally capable of hearing God’s message and both equally at risk of mis-hearing?

I wonder whether, somehow, we need to understand how to be led more by our heart as well as our heads so that we can readdress the western slant for reason and intelligence with the heavenly slant of compassion and feeling. Maybe then we can achieve some better equilibrium?


On Sunday night I am leading a Taize service at 8.00pm in the Crypt at the Cathedral.
I love Taize, the opportunity for quiet, for reflection, for simple repetition of simple words, allowing God to impact me in a fresh way.

If you fancy coming we start at 8.00pm and it would be great to see you – if you can play a keyboard I’d LOVE to see you as I don’t have a musician to play at the moment …