The Prophetic Power of Being Present
A few days ago I had the pleasure of a conversation with Brother Richard of Taize. During that conversation he spoke movingly of the number of younger people who find consolation in the fact that Taize endures, it does not go away, and they can return year after year and find again something that is familiar, rich in its depth of being and hopeful in its rhythm of life.
As he spoke I realised that Taize, as with other earlier, monastic flowerings, is providing a witness of profound presence. In an age of impermanence: the breaking of promises, the ending of relationships, the fragility of many marriages and so of families, together with the transient nature of many other forms of trust and fidelity, to simply be there in a faithful manner is a prophetic statement in the midst of modern life.
There is an important sense in which local churches can engage in similar prophetic stances. To be permanently present, not to always be chasing the latest fashion, to find forms of worship that endure, that embrace rhythm, that bind together ancient practices and future hope, this can be prophetic living. Buildings can help, but buildings can also be museums and that does not help. What matters is the consistency of community that is lived in places that endure.