I have written about Ignatian spirituality (that of the Jesuits) and of Benedictine spirituality - both of which are associated with monastic communities with a long tradition behind them. But the Christian expression of community can be demonstrated in other ways too. This is the first of a number of posts (not necessarily consecutive!) about Christian community in the twenty-first century.
I am starting with a modern monastic community which, whilst only being born in the 1940s, has much in common with the traditional religious communities. That is the community at Taize.
This is how the community describes itself on their website:
Today, the Taizé Community is made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, coming from around thirty nations. By its very existence, the community is a “parable of community” that wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples.
The brothers of the community live solely by their work. They do not accept donations. In the same way, they do not accept personal inheritances for themselves; the community gives them to the very poor.
Taize has proved to be a magnet for Christian young people from all over the world. If you want to see evidence of that then watch part or all of this nine minute video.
Over 100,000 people visit Taize each year - not all of them young, by the way! Taize is known particularly for its style of chanted music which often involves a repeated, meditative singing of a particular phrase. You may have seen or attended a 'Taize' service in a local church, which follows the style of the community's worship.
You can purchase CDs and DVDs from the Taize website and YouTube has a number of short videos - of varying standard!
You might like to try to meditate with this one - either using the images of Christ in the video, or if you prefer, with your eyes closed or focussed on a candle.
Now give thanks to God in your own words.
I have not been to Taize myself - but I would love to hear comments from those who have.