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Vigil for Healing and Peace in the Spirit of Taize

This worship service combines the contemplative spirit of Taizé chant with the Celtic liturgy of the Iona Community.

Taizé (“Tayzay”) is a tiny village hidden away in the hills of Burgundy in the eastern part of France, not far from the town of Cluny.  Since 1940 it has been the home of an ecumenical community of brothers whose prayer, three times each day, is the center of their life.  Today, Taize is a place to which visitors of all ages and backgrounds come on pilgrimage to participate in international meetings of prayer and reflection.

The Iona Community, on the Island of Iona off the coast of Scotland, is a dispersed Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community, and the renewal of worship. The Iona Community leads daily worship in the restored Abbey church, which was originally a medieval Benedictine foundation.

Both of these communities represent places where the veil between the material and the spiritual world is thin.  You are invited into that same spirit with this liturgy.


Opening Reading

The Invocation of the Graces (Carmina Gadelica)

One:    This is the joy of all joyous things,
the light of the beam of the sun
the door of the chief of hospitality
the surpassing star of guidance
the step of the deer of the hill
the step of the steed of the plain
the grace of the swan of swimming
. . .
Another:    The best hour of the day be thine
The best day of the week be thine
The best week of the year be thine
The best year in the Son of God’s domain be thine.


Chalice Lighting

One:    Encircle us, Giver of Life
All:    Keep safety in, keep danger out
One:    Encircle us, Giver of Light
All:    Keep brightness in, keep darkness out
One:    Encircle us, Giver of Grace
All:    Keep peace within, keep conflict out.

All:    May you be a bright flame before us, A guiding star above us, A smooth path below us, A  loving guide behind us, Today, tonight and forever.
Mara Freeman, Kindling the Celtic Spirit

Song    Spirit of God (Iona Community)

Spirit of God, unseen as the wind
Gentle as is the dove,
Teach us the truth and help us believe,
Show us the Savior’s love.

You spoke to us long, long ago
Gave us the written word;
We read it still, needing its truth
Through it Love’s voice is heard.

Reading Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Laudate omnes gentes
Laudate dominum.  (All people praise the Lord)



Reading Inspired by Love and Anger (Iona Community)

Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and pain
Informed of God’s own bias, we ask him once again:
How long must some folk suffer? How long can few folk mind?
How long dare vain self interest turn prayer and pity blind?

From those forever victims of heartless human greed
Their cruel plight composes a litany of need:
Where are the fruits of justice? Where are the signs of peace?
When is the day when prisoners dream and find their release?

From those forever shackled to what their wealth can buy
The fear of lost advantage provokes the bitter cry
Don’t query our position!  Don’t criticise our wealth!
Don’t mention those exploited by politics and stealth!

To God, who through the prophets proclaimed a different age
We offer earth’s indifference, its agony and rage:
When will the wronged by righted?  When will the Kingdom come?
When will the world be generous to all instead of some?

God asks, Who will go for me?  Who will extend my reach?
And who, when few will listen, will prophesy and preach?
And who,when few bid welcome,will offer all they know?
And who, when few dare follow, will walk the road I show?

Amused in someone’s kitchen, asleep in someone’s boat,
Attuned to what the ancients exposed, proclaimed, and wrote,
A savior, without safety, a tradesman without tools
Has come to tip the balance with fishermen and fools.

Chant Vieni Spirito Creatore (Taizé)

Come and pray in us, Holy Spirit, Come and pray in us
Come and visit us, Holy Spirit.
Spirit come, Spirit Come



Reading  Micah 6:6-8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Chant Bless the Lord my Soul (Taizé)

Bless the Lord my soul, and bless God’s holy name
Bless the Lord my soul, who leads me into life.

Reading (from “118 Days: How I survived captivity in Iraq,” James Loney, Sojourners Magazine, December 2006)

Peacemakers, who are bound by brick-and-mortar conceptions of peace, inhabit not an enclosed façade, but instead a gateway that offers not only a view to the human scene, but also allows responsible dialogue with it.  This open, accessible, and overarching perspective of peace crafts – out of each of us – the will to seek the means to act. – Harmeet Singh Sooden

Tom Fox became the prophet of the present moment.  “All we have is the now,” he would say, “The past is a fiction and the future doesn’t exist.” . . . He strained with his whole being to let go of everything – even the hope of release – and just be present to the present. . . . Each day, each hour, each minute I was confronted with a choice: Withdraw, clench my heart into a fist and conserve my widow’s mite of emotional energy, or open my heart, inhabit the moment, be generous with acceptance and conversation and listening . . . This, I began to see, is what it means to be born again. The present moment is the birth canal of incarnation. – James Loney

Chant: Stay with me (Iona Community)

Stay with me, remain here with me.
Watch and pray, watch and pray



Chant: Domine, Dona nobis pacem (Taizé)

Domine, Domine, dona nobis pacem

Reading (from Singing the Living Tradition, #588)

One:    Is not this the fast that I choose:
All:    To loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
One:    Isit not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see them naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
All:    Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly;
One:    If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
All:    You shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58


Chant: Domine, Dona nobis pacem (Taizé)

Domine, Domine, dona nobis pacem

Reading (Singing the Living Tradition #602)

All:    If there is to be peace in the world
There must be peace in the nations
If there is to be peace in the nations
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Chant Live in Charity (Taizé)

Live in charity and steadfast love
Live in charity, God will dwell with you.

Reading (Singing the Living Tradition #505)

One:    Let us be at peace with our bodies and our minds.  Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves.
All:    Let us be aware of the source of being, common to us and to all living things.
One:    Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion, let us fill our hearts with our own compassion – toward ourselves and toward all living beings.
All:    Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be the cause of suffering to each other.
One:    With humility, with awareness of the existence of life, and of the sufferings that are going on around us, let us practice the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth.
All:    Amen.   (Tich N’hat Hanh)

Chant Live in Charity (Taizé)

Live in charity and steadfast love
Live in charity, God will dwell with you.




One:    This is the time of year, when the Universe is reaching its third trimester, and moving toward the birth of light. Just as a woman tends to nest toward the end of her pregnancy, so do we tend to draw in, to attend to our homes and those within, to yearn for the birth of light, color, and new life. Possibly, this is the time of the year when our greatest fears and sorrows are highlighted and therefore it is also the moment when we have the greatest opportunity to reach for and fulfill our true potential. As humans, we can birth new life and light into this dark world. Out of our fears and our darkness we are being invited – by the Universe, by God, by all mothers who have birthed new life, by our children who are born as light, by our prophets of time passed, by our current spiritual leaders, and by the future voices of those to come – to give into the birthing pains and bring to light a new world. This Winter, let us birth the kingdom of heaven both within and without.  (Fred Plumer, President, Progressive
All:    Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you. (Fiona MacLeod)

Extinguish the Chalice

One:    If here you have found freedom, take it with you into the world.  If you have found comfort, go and share it with others.  If you have dreamed dreams, help one another, that they may come true.  If you have known love, give some back to a bruised and hurting world.    (Lauralyn Bellamy)

Go in peace.

All:    Go in Peace


Leave in Silence, taking peace to the world.

Review & Commentary