Sunday, August 23, 2009

She moves in mysterious ways...

I've always thought this song could be describing God in a way. So maybe some might say my theology is off. I tend to view the gender of the Creator as more fluid than just male or female. If that offends you then go on and stop reading here.

Last night I had a spiritual experience at a concert along with hundreds of thousands of other people. Last night the Lord of Sound and I went to the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff and saw U2. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I tend to like the female folk singer genre with a bit of crooner type big band jazz and old time music thrown in there. So to say that I had a spiritual experience at say a Joni Mitchell concert would not be surprising. But to say it happened at a U2 show? Well, that is what I tend to call "boy music" and usually not something I'd choose to turn on.

But then again, I like U2 alright, I like a lot of their songs. You read my last poetry Friday post, and the title of this one. (Note: In our family, it is a rule that when we hear someone sing or say Memphis in a song we cheer. The only exception is Pride (in the name of Love) since it is an inappropriate place to cheer. Instead I raised my hand and thought of home. I have to admit, negative context or not, there is something warm about someone saying the name of your hometown when you are so far away. I bet we were the only Memphians in the crowd.)

During Sunday, Bloody, Sunday there was a feeling in the air. A sort of happy solemnity. Having been to Ireland myself now (and like I told the LofS last night, in my heart I'm American, Welsh, and Irish. Maybe a little Italian, but I certainly have a soft spot for the Celtic nations) It only dawned on my last night that this song was about the Easter Rising. (Remember I'm not a U2 fan particularly, or wasn't before last night.) A good bit of the time, Bono was very fond of turning the mic to the crowd and letting us sing. (Who can blame him, I'd love to have just one person sing along to one of my songs, I can't imagine the rush he felt.) This song was no exception. The audience chanted "Sunday, Bloody, Sunday" and I could feel something welling up inside me. The next song was of course, Pride (in the name of Love). Same kind of thing as the previous song. It was very moving. (And it really hit home when it dawned on me that now we have a black president! However you feel about him, it is historical and something Dr. King worked for.) At that point a normal diva rock star would have focused in on himself. Not our band. The next song was dedicated to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi. People had masks on, there were pictures on the screen of her. It was like a giant prayer.

He then moved on to more "fun" songs. Until he left (without singing With or Without you!). Of course he came back for two encores. One of them began with a message from Nelson Mandela with (get this) Welsh subtitles! That was huge! How much trouble he must have gone through for that, only to use it at only one show where everyone spoke English anyway! (With or Without you was one of the encores by the way, the last one. Bono came out wearing a jacket with laser lights swinging around on this haning microphone.)

Another sort of holy moment, at the end of this one song, Bad, it says, "Let it go, and so to fade away." and for a good five minutes after the song ended and the cheers faded the stadium glowed with the sound of hundreds of thousands of people singing those lines like a choir. (and thousands of cell phones lit up like stars)

Which brings me to this:
Colossians 3:17
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

When I was a teenager, I used to think that verse meant that it was only ok for me to listen to Christian music. I was so sure of this that if a "secular" song got stuck in my head (even something harmless like Stop in the Name of Love), then it was my duty to drown it out with a Christian song.

Now I know that God is bigger than that. (Personally I know there is a lot about God that we just don't know.) God is everywhere, a part of it all.

George Fox (founder of the Quakers) said, “The Lord showed me, so that I did see clearly, that he did not dwell in these temples which men had commanded and set up, but in people's hearts . . . his people were his temple, and he dwelt in them.”

I think that is where God was last night.

At least in my heart.


Sara said...

Beautiful post!

Jill said...

I agree, wonderful post! I've been a fan of U2 since my teenage years, and I know that their live concerts, especially, are indeed a religious experience.

And I love that line..."She moves in mysterious ways." I like it because I also see God as being fluid in gender!

Alyss said...

I have been a huge U2 fan for years and every concert I've been to (em, like four of five) have been religious experiences.

You do know that they are all devoutly Christian, right? Mysterious Ways is meant to live in that borderland between divine love and carnal love.