|The pianist, violinist, and me!|
Here at Rockhurst, we have “Pasta and Prayer” every Tuesday night. Pasta and Prayer is usually a shortened (thirty minute) mass in the main chapel on campus followed by a free pasta dinner prepared and served in the Campus Ministry Center. From time to time the “prayer” part of Pasta and Prayer is changed and we do something a little different. Earlier in Lent, we had a Taize prayer service. I had never heard of such a thing until I was asked to sing at ours a few weeks ago.
In general, a Taize prayer service is one that rotates between repetitious music, silence, and simple prayer in order to create a meditative environment where participants may just sit and reflect over what has been said/ sung or what is pressing on their hearts. I think the middle of Lent was a good time for something like this because people may have been struggling with whatever they have up or may have just forgotten about what season it is and what they should be focusing on. I, personally, enjoyed the peaceful environment and the silence because silence is hard to come by these days. As Cindy Schmersal has pointed out to me just before the Silent Retreat last semester, even when our mouths are quiet, our minds and hearts may be loud.
The last thing that helped contribute to the perfect mood was the candles. On the alter there were two tables (a large one in back and a shorter one in front) and they were covered with white candles varying heights and sizes. There were also small, hand-held candles for each participant at the door. At the very end of the service, the prayer leaders lit their own candles and then started to pass the flame around so that within a couple minutes each person’s candle was lit. Then, everyone placed their candles in a bowl of sand so they could all stand together. It was a very powerful service for everyone and it was different than anything I had ever participated in. I hear that we plan on doing another service like it next year and I can’t wait to be a part of it.