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Brother Roger: May 12, 1915 – August 16, 2005

Brother Roger, the founder and leader of France's Taize community, has been murdered. While Roger was leading the community in prayer last night a woman arose and stabbed him three times in the neck. He died quickly — he was 90 years old.
It is a sad day for those who have been deeply influenced by our Brother's understanding of Christianity community, reconciliation, and peace. It is tragic to hear of murder and think of bloodshed. But unlike many I am not shocked by the news. It just makes sense. Brother Roger followed in the footsteps of Jesus and, in the end, like so many other humble disciples, he had his life taken from him. Roger spent his life carrying a cross and martyrdom, although sad, is not surprising but rather what could be expected. So I will mourn the violence — I will grieve especially for the woman that killed him — but I remain convinced that on this cross Roger has triumphed. Jesus has taken the power of crucifixion, of murder, and of death, from the hands of the enemy, and we can be certain that resurrection awaits our Brother.
It seems that this year is one for the passing of renowned Christian leaders. First John Paul II and now Brother Roger. It is interesting to compare the two. Both lived long lives but one, the leader of a Church still closely tied to the practice of state power, died a slow laborious death that incapacitated him, took away his mental faculties, and made him unable to speak; the other, committed to a more humble path of reconciliation, worship, and peace, died the death of a martyr. This then marks the passing of two witnesses. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

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