Bono: “Let’s give the future a kiss”

U2 360
I know, I know, it’s cliche to talk about the spiritual dimension to U2’s lyrics. But Monday night’s concert began by Bono yelling to the crowd, “Let’s give the future a kiss!” (a line from “Get on your boots”) and I just couldn’t help but think of the promising horizon of God’s future. Throughout the night, with the experience of Christianity 21 still fresh, I thought about how U2 embodies the kind of eyes-wide-open-hope that so many of us are trying to embody, too. They can turn the screens green in honor of Iran’s revolution. They can have concert-goers take mobile phone pictures of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma’s rightful, democratically elected leader who has been under house arrest since 1990) and have them march around the circling stage during “Walk On” with their cameras in front of their faces in solidarity with her. They can sing “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and mean every last word with passion. And they do it all in the key of hope. They do it all without sounding angry, or cynical. They opt to rouse people to see another way, and to WANT that other way, because it’s a story that’s going somewhere better. I don’t have this on record, but I think Bono and The Edge are in on the idea that God is boundary-breaking and headed toward a better future. And they can rally 80,000 people a night to sing along to anthems that declare it.

One of my favorite songs of the night was a remix of “I know I’ll go crazy.” Here’s a Youtube video of their live version in Dublin, although it doesn’t begin to capture the feeling. (On a side note, I hope they release this verson on iTunes. It’s genius.) Below is an excerpt of the song lyrics. I love that they acknowledge both that we need to move toward change and that it takes time, and sometimes even the most avid justice-seekers need to take the night off. As we try to live as people who shout to the darkness and squeeze out sparks of light (also a phrase I adore- maybe we should ask Bono and Edge to come and hang out with us next time we host a Christianity 21-ish gathering?) we stay motivated by two very comforting things: we have grace, and we have time. Those are NOT excuses for not walking that way faithfully and shouting that direction, but they are the food of hope so we stay the course.

“Every generation gets a chance to change the world
Pity the nation that won’t listen to your boys and girls
Cos the sweetest melody is the one we haven’t heard
Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear?
The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear
Oh, but a change of heart comes slow

It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain
As you start out the climb
Listen for me, I’ll be shouting
We’re gonna make it all the way to the light
But you now I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight

Baby, baby, baby, I know I’m not alone
Baby, baby, baby, I know I’m not alone

It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain
As we start out the climb
Listen for me, I’ll be shouting
Shouting to the darkness, squeeze out sparks of light”

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