One of the Facebook memes going around right now is about memories – namely, asking for people to post memories of you, with a fair bit of delight at the answers. If my friend and colleague Ashley DeTar Birt were to ask, I would be hard pressed to pick just one memory, as our friendship, which began the first week of seminary and continues to this day, is full of great moments.
But the moment I would choose right now would be hearing her sermon “The Prism and the Paint” wherein she used Genesis 1 to search for better ways to talk about light and dark, white and black, good and evil. Using acrylic paints, crystals, and a lamp, she reminded us that the creation story calls day and evening “good” because it is not “void.” As Ashley reminded us, white is the sum of all colors when using light, and black is the sum of all colors when using paints. Light and dark are fullness. Light and dark – whether about the natural world, or our souls, or our skin colors – are good.
This Taizé song, by Jacques Berthier, expresses the fullness of darkness, where we can find sustenance for the journey.
De noche iremos, de noche
que para encontrar la fuente,
sólo la sed nos alumbra,
sólo la sed nos alumbra.
By night, we hasten, in darkness,
to search for living water,
only our thirst leads us onward,
only our thirst leads us onward.
De nuit nous irons dans l’ombre,
car pour decouvrir la source,
seule la soif nous éclaire,
seule la soif nous éclaire.
Di notte andremo, di notte,
per incontrare la fonte,
solo la sete c’illumina,
solo la sete ci guida.
In Dunkler Nacht woll’n wir ziehen,
lebendiges Wasser finden,
Nur unser Durst wird uns leuchten,
nur unser Durst wird uns leuchten.
One of the things I love about the music of the Taizé Community is that it’s meant to be sung in the language you choose; in a Taizé service, you will sometimes hear the words of many tongues crossing over one another in the same rich harmonies. It’s a beautiful thing to experience. And I am glad our Hymnal Commission offered the words in five languages here.
It is beautiful, haunting melody, perfect for a Winter Solstice vespers. (If only I’d gotten to this one last week, cry my clergy friends who led solstice services last night!)
It is beautiful, haunting, and full.
It is good.
For your listening pleasure: