Thursday, October 30, 2008

Of U2 and Dandelion Seeds

I've been listening to U2 the last few days. I popped in The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree and as always I find myself carried away by the shimmering wash of The Edge's guitars, the surging heartbeat of Clayton and Mullen, and the passionate wails and whispers of Bono.

I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
that hold me inside

I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

My wife and I were watching one of their concerts on TV and we both agreed that U2 just might be the greatest Rock and Roll band ever. They certainly have had incredible staying power and seem to reach across a multitude of boundaries. So what is it, we wondered, that is different about them? What is it that causes them to stand, after so many years, head and shoulders above the rest? We concluded that with U2 you find something that transcends the genre of Rock and Roll.

Rock has always reveled in an unflinching and uncompromising dance with the realities of life. Rock musicians have always seemed to live in an honest relationship with the apparent demands of the world. Their unwillingness to turn their backs on the siren's song have led to the long parade of those who epitomized the "live hard, die young" lifestyle. For after all, if this life is all there is, who has better captured the essence of life than the rock star? Who has been more honest and more true then those strutting little gods who, wielding their instrument as a weapon, demand that no desire will go unfulfilled and that no experience will go untried.

And so we come to U2 and we discover something so similar but yet completely different. With U2 we find despair but also hope, doubt but an enduring faith, longing and desire for something so much more than the gratification of the flesh, an honest attempt to deal with social injustice and, at every turning, the discovery of grace and redemption. When Bono wrings every drop of emotion from his soul he gives it as a gift to the crowd. His baring of the soul is not that of the vampire, feeding on the adulation of the masses. His is rather the dance of a wild prophet who cannot keep silent, crying in the wilderness for the ear of God and the salvation of His people.

I'd like you to read something now. It doesn't have anything to do with U2 or with Rock and Roll, but yet it has everything to do with the essence of what I, at least, see and hear in them. It has everything to do with the hope that is within me and within everyone who has tried to make sense out of this tragic, mysterious, beautiful life.

Please read Dandelion Seeds and cry awhile with me.

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