Thursday, May 21, 2009

Levitate...Lift me Up!

There are some REALLY GREAT SONGS on U2's special release, Medium, Rare & Remastered. U2's aim to intelligently and subtlely weave their Christian faith into lyrics actually loses some of the subtlety on several songs. Levitate is one of those songs.

"It's in your voice, I can feel it, I can tell. It's in your voice, Has me ringing me like a bell"--it seems quite likely that Bono is singing about the Holy Spirit...and getting in tune with the Spirit so that we hear His voice. the voice of the Lord is a common theme in Scripture.

In Genesis 22 Abraham is told that he will be blessed because he listened to the voice of the Lord. In Exodus 15 God calls His people to listen to His voice. In 1 Samuel 15:22 we learn that the Lord takes great delight in those who obey His voice. All through the Psalms we sing of the voice o the LORD--Ps 29:4--The voice of the LORD is poweful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty; and in the next verse, in a tie-in with the new album, No Line on the Horizon, the Voice of the LORD breaks the Cedars of Lebanon! In the Song of Solomon, the great LOVE SONG of Scripture, the one loved hears the voice of the Beloved...and the poetic language there somewhat parallels Bono's lyrics that the voice has him ringing like a bell.

The same theme continues in the New Testament: In John chapter 10 Christ talks about being the Good Shepherd and the sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

As we listen to the voice of the LORD, there will be peace: Bono continues: "Peace of mind; Peace comes dropping slow; I'm in the mind to let go of control." Romans 8:6--The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace! In Galatians 5:22 we learn that one element of the fruit of the Spirit is peace...peace dropping upon us because the Spirit is from above. We receive that peace as we yield ourselves up to God (Romans 6:13ff); as we let go of control and allow the Spirit to fill us (Ephesians 5:18).

Spirit come on down, No I'm not coming down--This could be taken two ways: 1) As Bono prays for the Spirit to fall upon him, he has the Spirit saying "No, I'm not coming down..." meaning, the Spirit is wanting Bono and us to know that the Spirit's intention is to lift us up with Him, not for Him to come down to us...thus, LEVITATE!

But a second option is that Bono is believing so firmly that the Spirit WILL come on down that the subject of the second line is Bono (and every believer) and there is confidence that since the Spirit is coming down as promised, we can say to our enemies, no matter what you do or what I face, "No, I'm not coming down." An interesting side note here is that on NLOTH, on the song Moment of Surrender, during the verse involving riding on the subway "through the stations of the cross" the official lyrics say the next line is "counting down to the Pentecost." Pentecost, of course, being the time when the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples as they waiting in Jerusalem for the Gift Jesus said He would send...and the church became filled with a love that was unstoppable...and it turned the Roman Empire right-side-up!

In the chorus: Who can stop us now, It's much too late; Can't slow us down, We can't hesitate. I want a love that's hard, As hard as hate...Levitate. Once Christ-followers are filled with the Spirit, they can not be stopped. As Jesus taught, "the gates of hell will not prevail against the church" (Matthew 16:18). Also in Romans 8, a chapter filled with thoughts about walking in the Spirit, the chapter is filled with thoughts of victory! No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Then the line--"I want a love that's hard, As hard as hate. Levitate!" When people hate, that hate is so deep, so passionate, so's all-pervasive. Bono says he wants a love that has those same qualities. Only the Spirit of God can grant such a Levitate! Bring us into the love of the Trinity...the love shared between Father, Son and Holy Ghost! Jesus said that the world would know we are Christians by our love for one another. As we hear the Voice of the Spirit and our hearts resonate with His voice, we will be filled with a love that can change the world and NOTHING AND NO ONE can stop us!

In the last verse we see a line that Bono has used on How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb, in Miracle Drug:"Freedom has a scent/Like the top of a newborn baby's head." Here in Levitate, Bono sings: When freedom comes, Freedom has a scent; It's like the top of a new born baby's head. On NLOTH there is the theme of being born and reborn...Bono knows that the work of the Spirit is to renew us after the character of Christ on a daily basis...Christ being the new born Baby that brings freedom; but also, the Spirit is the Spirit of freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17-18) and makes us reborn daily by His grace and power.

Who can stop us now, Who could make us wait; Who could slow us down, Make us hesitate. I want a love that's hard, As hard as hate. Levitate! Lift me up!

So, we are to sing out in prayer to be filled with the Spirit, the Spirit of love and peace. We are to yield ourselves and our lives over to the Lord so that He lifts us up out of our brokenness and self-absorption and we will be released to go into the world, "arms stretched out" to serve and love the world in which we live! Who can stop us now!

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