I was not able to make it through some of the Taizé chants in chapel today. This sometimes happens to me because any time I am in a Taizé service it reminds me of one of the most meaningful five months of my life at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches in Switzerland in 1990-91. At Bossey, 51 of us from 33 different countries gathered to sing Taizé chants twice a day almost every day in morning and evening community prayers. My whole experience of living, studying, playing, and praying together with so many wonderful and diverse persons at Bossey was one of the most vivid moments for me of recognizing that we are part of one world house, and even with all of our differences, there are ways for us to be in deep community with one another. That sense of a profound togetherness of all humanity overwhelmed me as I was singing chants today in chapel, and there were tears of memory and tears of joy as I thought about my experience at Bossey 23 years ago.
But the tears that were stronger today were not the tears of memory and joy of looking back to the past. The tears that broke into my singing and which at times made my singing inaudible were tears of anticipation of the future for my children and their children and for all the other children of the world. I think some of my tears came from fear for the world we are leaving them.
Looking at the reality of what we are doing right now to our planet, it is difficult to have hope that we will be able to do what we have to do to avoid having our children and their children live in a world of very great suffering. Those who are my age may see a good deal of this suffering in our lives as well. We cannot seem as people of this planet to grasp the enormity of the suffering we are creating for ourselves and those who are to come.
Today I cried tears of grief for the future. It does not appear that we are capable of doing what needs to be done on our own to avoid ecological and economic collapse and the suffering this will bring. So, I am at the point of hoping that there is some spirit of love, some spirit of goodness, some spirit of community, some spirit of beauty, some spirit of compassion, that will somehow in some way stir our hearts and stir our communities to help us do what we don’t seem to be able to do ourselves. This is my prayer today, a prayer that comes with many tears.