Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Sunday

I vowed last year that I wouldn’t go to the Taizé Easter Sunday service. Not that it wasn’t a great service and to be honest the excitement when everyone chants out Easter greetings in their own language from around the church as the bells start to ring at the end of the service, is a most moving experience. What it was, was the crowds. Taizé is crowded throughout the summer starting from now, but it was so crowded last Easter, that, for the first time ever, I felt scared. The Red Cross had a heavy presence in the church, but by the time the service started, they could no longer move around, all the gangways were blocked, as well as the emergency exits and with everyone wafting candles, I just didn’t feel safe.

This year, we did go up to Taizé, but this time as tourists, to watch what goes on around and outside the church. Something you don’t see if you go to a service. We arrived “early” (9.30 for a 10.00 start) and the church was comfortably full when we walked in to look. As you can see from the photo above, there was little floor space, but it still felt safe. I moved from door to door to look inside, but when I got to the front of the church, I was
confronted by the door “guards”, who told me I couldn’t go in as it was full. They sent me and the others trying to get in, towards the back of the church, but by 09.40, all the doors had been closed and no one else could get in. This is the first time I have seen this, at last someone has come to their senses. It could have been the Red Cross who had laid down the law or some other health and safety body, but at last the church was not going to be dangerously overcrowded. But what do you do with the hundreds still outside?

The brothers had set up a large tent near the church - with icons and candles and screens, small benches and hymn sheets and candles, just like the church itself - for the overflow. Sadly the youngsters blocking the doors to the church, were not directing people to the tent until quite late on. It was left to people like me, to tell those wandering around looking lost, where to go. There were many young people who didn’t make their way to the tent, they probably felt they could squeeze in when the door guards went in to the service, but they were to be disappointed as the doors lock shut, only allowing people to exit not enter. There were also lots of locals who arrived too late to get in and they just turned around and went home, which was sad for them. There was probably only room for about 300 in the tent, which was not really enough for the number of people we saw walking around trying to get into the church, so maybe it was better that not everyone tried to get in.

By the time we left around the start of the service, the tent had filled up, but I do wonder what the atmosphere in there would be like, I also wondered how the Easter candle would enter the tent, but we didn’t stay to watch - maybe next year. The moral of the story is, if you want to get into the church and get anywhere near the front, nine thirty is already too late.

La Tuilerie Website

1 comment:

  1. Many years ago, as I was helping with the washing up - I was send to the tent nearby, because they closed the church. In the tent we had the service on a TV-screene. At time of communion brothers came over to the tent. I just don't remember, if we had candle-ligt in the tent.


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