Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When Will the Pain Stop?

Moment of Surrender, on U2's new album, No Line on the Horizon, is one of my favorite U2 songs of all time. What’s it about? It could be about a drug addict finally coming to the place of surrender as described in the Twelve Step program. It might also be about surrendering to God…as Bono sings about “falling to my knees.”

In many U2 songs, prayer is referred to as kneeling (She Moves in Mysterious Ways—“on your knees, boy;” Vertigo—“You’re love is teaching me how to kneel;” City of Blinding Lights—“Blessings are not just for the ones who kneel...luckily;” and many others!).

There are other Christian symbols in Moment of Surrender that lead me to believe Bono is singing about surrender to Christ…the Lamb as White as Snow. The last verse appears on as follows:

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down 'til the Pentecost

The last line is significant. On the released version of the song, Bono seems to clearly sing: “counting down ‘til the pain would stop.” What is interesting is that on my iTunes download of the album which is accompanied by a Digital Booklet, the lyric appears as in's Discography section…“Counting down ‘til the Pentecost.”

This coming Sunday, May 31, 2009 is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost is the Day the Church celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the early believers, 10 days after the ascension of Christ…and 50 days after Easter (thus the name, Pentecost).

Pentecost was also an Old Testament Feast Day—called the Feast of Weeks. It is also called the Feast of the Harvest or the Feast of Firstfruits. This Jewish feast celebrated the LORD as the Provider of all crops, all fruitfulness. The symbol in the Old Testament is the LORD as the Provider of material fruitfulness and Pentecost continues the theme of Provision as the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the Church as the Provider of all spiritual fruitfulness...Levitate!!! (One of the songs on U2's "B-side" releases called "Medium, Rare and Remastered," clearly a song about crying out for the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is presented in John 14-16 as the Helper, the Comforter...thus, the One who helps our pain to stop.

In Moment of Surrender, Bono sings of going through the “Stations of the Cross” which is what the church meditates upon during Holy Week and Good Friday. But after the crucifixion and resurrection, there is Pentecost! It is one thing to be forgiven, to have a heart made White as Snow…it is another thing to be given the Power and Provision of the Holy Spirit...Levitate!!!

A drug addict or any other kind of addict (we’re ALL addicts of some kind!) can be forgiven and be released from shame and guilt through the Lamb as White as Snow. But we need more than forgiveness…we need power to live different lives! We need the ability to say no to the addictions of this world that can kill us and harm all our relationships. We need the Spirit Who Alone can empower us to go out into the world with our arms outstretched to serve and love and bring peace and kindness. We need the Spirit to fill us with compassion for the suffering. We need the Spirit to fill us with love for our enemies...Levitate!!!

We need the Spirit to fill our lives in this in-between time, this in-between life in this broken world, as we pack our suitcases for a place none of us have ever been…a place that has to be believed to be seen. We need the Spirit to fill us with courage and hope as we count down ‘til the pain will stop…we need the Spirit to fill us with faith as we continually cry out, “How Long? sing this song!!

This week, I’m joining Bono…and I’m counting down ‘til the Pentecost. Care to join me? Levitate!!!

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