I’ve been listening to the new U2 Album (they still call it an album on iTunes!), “No Line on the Horizon,” and I found myself linking some of the introspective lyrics with NT Wright’s “Surprised By Hope.”
Those of us raised with well honed theological formulations will tend to struggle trying to figure out exactly where Bono and U2 are trying to go. The words are not neat. They don’t fit comfortably with how we’ve been trained to think. They are the words of an artist and poet more than those of a theologian. Hence before we dismiss them too quickly, maybe we should wrestle with the underlying message that touches the heart of seekers, committed Christ followers and even unbelievers.
“No Line On the Horizon,” tends to reflect the dissonance most people feel about the state of our current world and what we deeply know should be. As I listened, I got the sense that U2 would remind us, as NT Wright does in “Surprised By Hope,” that while this is earth and not yet heaven, there is hope – hope, that we can bring a bit more of heaven to earth, hope that starts with the here and now but goes beyond.
I couldn’t help but think that there just might be some good eschatology, even missiology in this album, such as in ‘Get On Your Boots’: The future needs a big kiss / Winds blows with a twist / Never seen a moon like this / Can you see it too? / Night is falling everywhere / Rockets at the fun fair / Satan loves a bomb scare / But he won’t scare you.
Mess and hope all mingled together. Reminding us of the promise found in the book of Revelation of a yet future recreated new earth and heaven together, where our God “will wipe every tear from our eyes. Where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” Reminding us as well that until then we’ve been given a mission to pray for and accomplish, where we will “see God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done in increasing measure on earth as it is in heaven,” a mission that impacts lives individually and impacts the city and world we live in. So yeah, maybe it’s time to “get on your boots.”