Vigil for Healing and Peace in the Spirit of Taizé

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick

December 31, 2011, 7 p.m. Tweet

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.

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