Saturday, February 13, 2010

The U2 Concert at the Y This Morning

Many of you, I'm sure, are incredulous that it’s been weeks since I’ve blogged on a U2 song. See, I really do have other interests! But working out this morning, to U2 of course, during the shuffle on my iPhone, a song called “Always” came on. I’ve heard it before, of course, lots of times…but it hit me differently this time.

As usual, Bono is not shy about bringing his spirituality (in my opinion, clearly Christian spirituality) and in this song seems to be singing on the brevity of life.

The first stanza is this:

Here today
And gone tomorrow
Crack the bone, get to the marrow
To be the bee
And the flower
Before the sweetness turns to sour

The line clearly points to the book of James 4:14—“you do not know what tomorrow will bring; What isyour life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time then vanishes.” This is a Biblical truth repeated often throughout the Scriptures. In 1 Corinthians 7:29 Paul reminds us that the time is short, so to make the most of the time we have (an idea repeated in Ephesians 5:16, that we should make the best use of the time because the days are evil. See also Isaiah 40:6-8).

Bono is reminding us that our days on the earth are short…so live life to the fullest. Suck the marrow out of life…a common expression written by Henry David Thoreau in Walden meaning to seize the day, get all you can from life. Of ALL people on the planet, Christ-followers like Bono, recognize the call from God to suck the marrow from life; we’re to be like bees flying to the flowers of life so that we might enjoy the nectar…not that we’re to be hedonists…that would be entirely self-centered…but we can honor God by responsibly enjoying to the fullest the creation He has provided for us. And Bono warns us not to allow fear or apathy to tempt us to wait to long or hold back…because sweetness can turn sour.

Another stanza that hit me this morning during leg curls of all things, was this verse:

Get down off your holy cloud... always
God will not deal with the proud... always
Well if you dream then dream out loud... always
Eternally yours... always

Again, in the book of James 4:6, we read that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Interesting, yet another verse that appears repeatedly throughout Scripture (eg, 1 Pet 5:5). Beware of self-righteousness. Beware of spiritual pride getting in the way of your walk with Christ. We can have big dreams for our lives and honoring God, dream big...but recognize your need for God to be in the dreams and His grace to be what brings them to pass...not your gift package...and then remember that the big dreams are not about you or me and our glory...but His glory alone.

Grace—God’s undeserved, unmerited favor, kindness, mercy, love, goodness toward sinners. There is an interesting issue arising from the verse in James, however…grace, it seems, while unmerited and undeserved, is actually NOT unconditional. It seems the condition is that we are not proud, but humble…funny, its actually an anti-condition…a non-condition. It’s not something we need to be good at to received grace…it’s actually realizing that the only thing, ultimately, we have to offer God is our failure and need.

We see Bono crying out in desperate need for his God in the repeated lines:

I want you
I want you
I want you

May that be the cry of our souls continually...Father, I want you; Lord Jesus, I want you. Holy Spirit, I want you. Bono is too good of a poet, and too smart to not be intentional about repeating the cry three times corresponding to the Three Persons of the Trinity!

The last line I’ll comment on is near the end of the song:

Turn each song into a prayer... always

Bono gets it…all of life can be lived out as a prayer to God. All we do can be considered worship as we live for Him. It’s surprising to me how many fanatical U2 followers love their music but miss their passion…Bono and the boys in fact do what they sing in that line…they DO, in fact, “turn each song into a prayer…always.”
Listen to their music…listen with ears in tune with the Spirit…Always!

2 comments:

Chad said...

Bob,

I have been thinking through and meditating on James 4:1-12 this past week and how we can allow our demands to steal away the fullness of life we can enjoy because we allow conflict and broken relationships to rule the day, our hearts, and consume our thoughts instead of resolving these conflicts biblically. There is a paradigm shift that needs to take place in our thinking that resolving conflict biblically is actually opportunity to glorify God and enjoy him fully. Good thought while leg curling in that we allow our pride to get in the way and in one sense causing us to flee from the conflict or become overbearing in conflict. Repent of our hearts that demand and are too prideful to resolve conflict. Look to Jesus in faith to give us grace to see through our blind spots of pride and choose to humbly and righteosuly resolve conflict and live life to its fullest.

gina said...

Bob- Amen Brother! I was just talking with the Father about the same thing this morning. I was not not listening to U2 -but, I was dreaming with Him about how beauty changes people.
I was thinking about the mystery of carring a vision to reach people through beauty -with such passion and conviction that I become lost in the dream- and forget that I am disposable. There is a tension in the reality of carrying a burden like that- because my heart gets involved. There is a place of feeling ownership and a need to repent of pride. Honestly, I need for Him to need me! But the reality is- that He knows what I'm made of ....he remembers that i am dust- (He is tender toward me anyway).
I do long to see our body rise up out of the knowlege of their "belovedness" and be used to push back the darkness- that is what "Doxology" means- right? (Moving from head knowlege that God is Great and Good- toward worship........? mission?)
With or without me I know that He is on the move to change our city (and beyond) through beauty-
I pray that I would NEED Him -more than I need for Him to need me-.
to Him be the glory! always, always, always :)