Monday, March 2, 2009

A Theological Review of U2's No Line

Over the next several days I'll be blogging on the theological significance of U2's new album. I'll do a couple songs each day. I already did this with Unknown Caller (see yesterday's blog), so today, I'll look at the first two songs on the album...

1. No Line on the Horizon--the horizon is where the sky meets the earth (or sea). Where there is no line on the horizon, you can't tell where earth/sea ends and heaven begins. Followers of Christ belong simultaneously to this present age, but through faith in Christ we are also made citizens of the Coming Age. Our calling as believers is to bring the hope and renewal and re-creation of the Coming Age into the present age by how we live. By God's grace we are to see the kingdom coming all around us even in the midst of the pain, brokenness and confusion of life. As the kingdom comes here and now, through God's grace operating in and through us, the line between heaven and earth is supposed to blur. The poor are to be provided for; The naked are to be clothed; the hungry are to be fed; the thirsty are to be given something to drink...and the poor in spirit are to be offered the Pearl of Great Price.

2. Magnificent--clearly a contemporary psalm of praise. Bono confesses his faith. He was born to know, love and serve the Creator. He was born to use all his gifts to bring Him glory "in space and time." A Christian's faith is not so other-worldly it has no relevance to the pain and confusion of this life. Yet the fall of the world into sin has affected all of us...Bono included. We break rhyme and reason because we have been deeply broken by sin, and there are consequences...scars. Nonetheless, "love can heal such a scar." God's love in Christ. Bono acknowledges the Lordship of Christ over his life, that he is called to sing anything God asks him to and to go anywhere, do anything God wants him to. Even Bono's first cry from the womb was a "joyful noise..." a clear reference to the Psalms in Scripture. Then Bono shows his understanding of theology..."justified til we die." Justification is the declarative act of God's grace by which broken, fallen sinners are declared to be forgiven, holy and completely righteous in the sight of God. By trusting in the atoning work of Christ we are seen by God in Christ as if we had never sinned, nor been sinners; and seen by Him as if we had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for us during His sinless life (Heidelburg Catechims Question 60). A good way to remember the truth of being justified is as follows: to be justified in Christ is to be seen by God "just-as-if-I'd" never sinned and "just-as-if-Id" always obeyed. "Justified til we die, you and I, will magnify the Magnificent." How magnificent is God that He has provided for our sin so that we could experience His infinite love and delight...makes you want to break out in song, eh?


Larry Fischer said...

U2 convicts me. I am feel like I am too republican and less compassionate than a broken Christian should be. Thanks Bob.

The Bobosphere said...

great thoughts, Larry