Easter 2017 / Meditation by Brother Alois

Witnesses to the Risen Christ

Thursday April 20, 2017

These days we tirelessly sing: “Christ is risen”. To understand this central reality of our faith, we lack words. So singing together the resurrection of Jesus helps us to put our trust in a mystery that is beyond us.

What is this mystery? Because Christ is risen, he is present to each and every one of us, he loves every person unconditionally, and this love will last forever and never change.

Last week, a young man asked me: how would you explain in simple words the resurrection of Jesus to someone who does not share our faith? The question is not an easy one. So I told him about our brothers in Taizé who have been living for over forty years among the poorest in Bangladesh.

In this country, the vast majority of people are Muslims. How can we be witnesses of the risen Christ? It is not by talking a lot, but by welcoming people, being close to them, admiring their sense of beauty and poetry but also by participating in their suffering, making them feel that they are loved.

All of us are in societies where many know despair. There is violence, there are wars, the recent attacks in Egypt, Sweden. How can we bear witness to the hope of the resurrection? It is not through our words, but through our lives, that we become witnesses to the love of Christ for every human being.

Through his resurrection, Christ has built a bridge between death and life, between despair and hope, a bridge that leads beyond death, beyond violence. Following him, we can also build bridges, even in places where it seems impossible.

Where there are divisions, separations, estrangements, we can seek to be creators of peace, reconciliation and communion. Thus it is through our lives that we bear witness to the resurrection. Of course at some point we may be asked questions and then it becomes possible, even important, to explain our faith using words.

I am also thinking of the refugees we have welcomed here on the hill, from Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. They are almost all Muslims. By welcoming them, living close to them, we have become friends. And then it is sometimes possible to talk about the faith that dwells in us.

Let us remember: by his resurrection Christ invites us first to become more human before being people who talk a lot.

Next Tuesday, we will have an exceptional visit, that of Patriarch Bartholomew. He lives in Istanbul, formerly called Constantinople. This will be the first time that a Patriarch of Constantinople will be in Taizé.

The Patriarch has the primacy of honor among all the Orthodox Churches. He is a man of great goodness and great openness. He tirelessly promotes the unity of Christians and the safeguarding of creation. His visit brings us an extraordinary joy, so deeply we are attached to the Orthodox Church.

Our community is imbued with the Orthodox tradition. The centrality given to the resurrection of Christ and the role of the Holy Spirit, the strong reference to the Church Fathers, liturgical life, icons, as well as the courage to go through decades of suffering, all these values lived in the East have been sources of inspiration for us.

For years, young Orthodox have been coming to participate in the meetings here, especially in the summer, Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Romanians and others. Their presence interrogates the young people of the West whom they meet here: how can we share more all the many gifts deposited by God in the souls of the Christians of the East?

So that you may discover something of all these treasures of the Christians of the East, I would like to invite you: instead of going home on Sunday, stay on until Tuesday to welcome with us the Patriarch of Constantinople. But I think that unfortunately only a few will be able to do so.

In September, after the summer meetings, it is we who will go to visit another branch of the Eastern Christians, in Egypt. With some of my brothers, with the young people who would like to accompany us, we will go to meet young Egyptians in Cairo and we will spend a few days of pilgrimage with them in their country.

Then our pilgrimage of trust in this year 2017 will end at the end of December in the city of Basel, where the young people taking part in the European meeting will be welcomed in three countries, Switzerland, France and Germany.

Before that, I would like to tell the many Germans here that I am looking forward to joining you at the Kirchentag on Saturday evening May 27th in Wittenberg for an open-air prayer vigil. On the occasion of the commemoration of the Reformation of the 16th century we are going to pray together for the unity of all Christians.


Last updated: 23 April 2017


[1Photo: Cédric Nisi