Last night I went to see U23D with some friends here in DC, and wow, was it incredible! You need to go see it now!

No joke, but watching/experiencing a U2 concert is a deeply spiritual event for me. I connect with God so much through their music and lyrics, more than I do in many church services to be honest.

I watched this massive crowd of people being caught up in something that is so much bigger than any of their individual experiences.

They connected with each other, with the music, with the message. It makes me question what we as a church can do to draw people towards Jesus. Why do we not make better use of the techniques used in experiences like a U2 concert and redeem them?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the theology of music. I think I’ll do a separate post on it, but over the last month especially I have been connecting with God so much through “secular” artists than through “Christian” artists. U2 are the modern-day theologians for many Irish people, and probably many other nationalities. It was a strange experience to be sitting in a room full of Americans listening to Bono sing Sunday Bloody Sunday (Bloody Sunday wikipedia), knowing that it probably has an entirely different effect on you than on anyone else in the room. When you come from a country where your entire land has been torn in two because of religion, where the only differential is whether you go to church or chapel at the weekend, to hear a fellow Irishman sing, “No more…” is a powerful experience.

And the battle’s just begun
There’s many lost, but tell me who has won?
The trenches dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters
Torn apart.

Sunday, bloody Sunday.
Sunday, bloody Sunday.

How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long, how long?
‘Cos tonight
We can be as one, tonight.

I may not agree with everything Bono says or does, but in a country where church is irrelevant for many people (check out this video from the Republic of Ireland for an idea), to be getting your theology from U2 is not a bad starting place I reckon…

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahewh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn…

6 thoughts on “U23D

  1. i think that there is a lot of amazing stuff in U2’s songs, and I agree that being from Ireland gives you a different perspective on some of them. I mean, we weren’t alive for the worst of the troubles, but i reckon most people, even people our age know someone affected by the troubles, i remember the omagh bomb, and the violence even in ballymena, with road blocks and stuff…

    How long, how long?

    granted things are much better now, there is still a lot of hate and hurt, more so in the north, and I think that is why Ireland is becoming so secularised and unchurched, because people blame religion for the things that have happened… when really it was people claiming to be religious rather than those who actually had a faith in Christ….

    For God and Ulster… what the flip does that mean, I’l go and attack catholics… for God and Ulster… it really bugs me… coz the message of Christ is of peace, not of war,

    all that being said, I love being from Northern Ireland….

    end of rant…

  2. Hey, i’m loving this! This U2 song never feels to move me –

    I remember reading an article in the telegraph last year after Ireland’s rugby victory over England, John Laverty writes, ‘what Saturday showed in brilliant vivid detail and in front of a global audience was just how far we’ve come on from those days, not how far back we can remember.’ As he refers to ‘we’ he reminds us that ‘we’ includes Protestants and Catholics, unionists and nationalists, northerners and southerners, men and women, boys and girls joining together.

    Church of Ireland Archbishop Alan Harper, at his enrolment in Armagh, said it was time to cement the truce between the two communities in Northern Ireland and pledged to lead the fight against sectarianism and division. ‘Our task is to sew together the rent fabric of our common life, not with invisible mending, such a thing is neither possible nor desirable, but with sutures of mutual acceptance, strong enough to secure time for sustained healing to knit us together in love…it is time to turn from truce to peace – we are one community, tragically divided but not separate’, (Faith 2007).

    I believe God’s heart breaks over this bleeding land and I can remember walking through the village in Belfast surrounded by murals singing the words of Robin Mark, ‘you love this city and you love these streets…’ Father, I love them too and I pray you will continue to heal this broken place that i too love to call home xx

  3. @ Jill: thanks for that link, great song! Haven’t heard that one in a long time. Thanks for throwing some thoughts into the mix! I love those words from Laverty, about “how far we’ve come, not how far back we remember”. Interesting idea for sure.

  4. It was truly an experience that I will never forget. I get it now – a life pursuing Jesus and social justice is an adventure that I will not only survive, but THRIVE.

    Fun to share it with you, Emma! Safe travels!

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