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Faith observations

by | Apr 1, 2021 | Faith, observe, U2

Happy April Fools Day!  If there was a holiday that I revere, it would be this one.  As a natural cut-up and jokester, I often circle this day on the calendar for something fun.  This year, it corresponds on the Faith calendar to a day called Maundy Thursday – one that I wasn’t really in tune with, the night of The Last Supper that you probably do know about.  It is now observed as a fairly somber service where the church is stripped of all elements and hung with the darkness that would come with “Good” Friday… 

If you remember the discussion of Van Halen being deep in debt after a successful first album and world tour, it will not surprise you that the same thing happened to U2.  Boy and October had been successful enough for Ali to say “Yes”, but not enough to have money for a honeymoon.  Luckily their label was Island Records – started in Jamaica after a big hit from Harry Belefonte.  Their owner owned – I kid you not – James Bond’s house there – well, technically Ian Fleming’s since James wasn’t real.  He loaned them the house and transportation there for their honeymoon… 

… which of course Bono used to… write lyrics for the album that was coming up 😉  I am guessing that was not a huge surprise to Ali, but one song that he wrote then was one of the big hits.  It actually started as a love song to her, but then the lyrics took a very different arc.  Boy introduced us to the basic sound and intensity of U2, and October as Bono said “no pressure – the second album is about God!”.  What is left? 

A little detail called Faith… along with last week’s topic Happiness, and the implied underlying theme of Success… which ties back to the real issue above – Money.  Three of the members were very actively involved with Shalom, and one of the members there had a “prophetic vision” during the recording of October.  No pressure – God wanted them to give up the Band as a sacrifice and leave the heathen world of Rock music behind.  And it was a serious consideration for them. 

We were getting a lot of people in our ear saying: ‘This is impossible, you guys are Christians. You can’t be in a band. It’s a contradiction and you have to go one way or the other.’ Okay, it’s a contradiction for some, but it’s a contradiction I’m able to live with” said the Edge later.  They took a few weeks off between the tours, and Bono was the first to reconcile the stances… and thankfully Larry and The Edge were soon with him.  The church was not happy, but their pastor flew to LA for the marriage of Ali and Bono… 

In the Upper Room, the leader and his 12 followers would gather for a meal – ostensibly for the Jewish Passover that also is observed this week.  This meal felt different, as the leader actually took time to wash the follower’s feet, something that in that time was a pretty nasty task.  It is often called in my work Servant Leadership, and this leader really embraced it.  He also gave them a new “mandatum” – a “commandment” as we would now call it, and where Maundy comes from.  

Observing your Faith in anything requires a commitment – you could say a “commandment” that you ascribe to.  Something that you believe in, and will act on.  Faced with a decision to observe their Faith, or continue their career, U2 actually did something that the leader in the Upper Room always found – the 3rd way.  In my new profession, it is called “looking for the AND”.  Choices are often false, particularly when it is “advice” that someone else is giving you.  Bono said it better “I often wonder if religion is the enemy of God.  It’s almost like religion is what happens when the spirit has left the building.”  I am not fully there, but observing it from a non-believers perspective is worth considering…

…and Faith would enter the story from another angle.  Bono was struggling with the lyrics, and observing all of the unrest and events happening around the world… and he started riffing live about how things would change, and be New… on New Years Day.  Later he would connect the dots to Solidarity and Lech Walesa – another church leader who had taken a risk of stepping into a 3rd choice… one that we now recognize as the beginning of the end of the Iron Curtain. 

How does your own Faith … in whatever it is in… manifest itself?  What is your “mandatum” on this new day?  This one is not bad: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  Not bad for April Fools – New Years Day… 

 

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