Monday, May 18, 2009

Celebrating the faith with Bono

Last night's U2charist was a blast! Ben's right that notwithstanding a couple of technical hitches, the evening went really well.

I'd wondered whether the format would work but about 15 minutes in, I realised it did. I felt myself being caught up in an act of worship, not just enjoying some of my favourite U2 songs. I saw and heard things in familiar U2 tracks that I hadn't really been aware of before because of the context in which I was now hearing them. When it came to breaking bread, I felt I'd been really well prepared to remember and reflect on Jesus' sacrifice for us.

Nearly everyone from our church who came - and that included quite a few retired people - said how much they'd enjoyed it even if U2 wasn't quite their cup of tea. One or two older ladies were even seen swaying their hips and moving to the groove - something they don't usually do in church!

I think Ben's point about putting the words up for all the songs (we only displayed them for some) is a good one. A number of people expressed similar sentiments. I think using concert footage as well as CD tracks and song videos helped to capture something of the immediacy and excitement of a U2 gig. And on Bullet the Blue Sky the 'message' of the song was greatly enhanced by footage of the US gun lobby played on the big screens ahead of Edge's guitar intro. But we do need to put the words up and select which live tracks we use because, as Ben rightly notes, some are quite long.

So all-in-all, I think the format really works. I'd certainly do it again.


Anonymous said...

As much as I hate to admit it, I must make a correction. One of Oprah's charities (Angel Networks) is 'three star' (out of four) rated by The scale is peanuts when you consider her incredible 9 figure salary, 2.7 BN net worth, and the huge worldwide fan base, but the efficiency was good as of '07'. Thats it. MJF and Oprah are 'top' and 'three star' rated respectfully. Every other celebrity foundation is rated poorly, fair, or not rated at all. That is really sad when you consider how many there are. Just about every big name celebrity on the planet has one or more.

Ben said...

I offer the following in playful spirit merely; but I couldn't help wondering whether the U2charist format could apply equally effectively to other cultural figures. With that in mind, I offer a speculative order of service for the 'Zimmerman Mass' (an artist with general appeal as great as, and possibly even greater than, U2.)

Approach to God: Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Praise: Jokerman, New Morning, Precious Angel

Confession: Everything Is Broken, Not Dark Yet

Word: Tryin' To Get To Heaven

Communion: Ring Them Bells, When He Returns

Benediction: Shelter From The Storm, If Not For You

'Tryin' To Get To Heaven' is a song not unlike 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For', in that it affirms a powerful faith amidst the confusion and imperfection of the world... and, also like the former, helped silence those who regarded Dylan's failure to produce exclusively 'Christian' music as evidence of a lost faith.

Oh, and just one last comment on the U2Charist. I realise time was short, but the omission of 'Walk On' (in my opinion, one of the most inspiring and oddly mystical pop songs of all time) was criminal...!!

Ben said...

Forgot one!

Intercession and Offering: Every Grain of Sand