Mary Frances Schjonberg of Episcopal News Service reports on the Taizé pilgrimage to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota:
Pilgrims from all over the world came May 24-27 to a hot and dusty stretch of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation prairie land bounded by the Black Hills and the Badlands to learn about and practice trust and reconciliation, overcome stereotypes, form friendships and grow in faith.
They did so while signing Taizé music with Western Meadowlark harmonies and the beat of crickets.
The May 24-27 gathering was first Taizé pilgrimage on an Indian reservation and it was by far the most remote of the locations that have been part of the Taizé brothers’ “pilgrimage of trust on earth,” which they describe as a meeting with Christ and with others.
Brother Emile, during an interview amidst the bustle of nearly 600 arriving pilgrims, said that the setting was much like the rural, isolated nature of Taizé in the French countryside but, “of course, the Badlands is more spectacular.”
The Rev. Margaret Watson, missioner at Eagle Butte, writes on her blog:
As the sun set that first night, turning the rocks and cliffs and plateaus red and pink, the moon rose over the altar. Yes. Literally. The people sang. Dare to forgive. God will be with you. Let those who are thirsty, come.
And I wept. Tears of joy. Tears of amazement. Pent up tears. Tears I couldn’t name because I didn’t know their source. Tears of unknowingness. Tears that carved away a Bad Lands in my heart, exposed strong soul cliffs and washed away the unnecessary earth.
And I was not alone in weeping. And it was good.