NT Wright Surprised By Hope

U2 No Line On The Horizon

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.”


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3 Responses to Surprised By Hope in U2′s “No Line On The Horizon”

  1. Orchester says:

    I have a lot of respect for Bono and U2. All the same, nothing on this CD has grabbed me. It is my opinion that this isn’t close to being U2′s best and certainly pales in comparison to their last two albums.

  2. Joel says:

    Interesting insight about eschatology in this song! Hadn’t thought about it that way before. Soon after it was released, I read The Edge’s comment:”the video is about letting women take over because men have fucked things up so badly, politically, economically, and socially.” Since reading what The Edge said about the video, I have always associated the song as a call to women to stand up and take charge.

    This, then, would have implications for ecclesiology and church leadership. I’ve heard missional leaders saying that if you want your church to prosper, then you need to get the women involved in leadership.

    But that’s one thing I love about the lyrics of U2 – so many levels and so many applications. It speaks to all of us differently!

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