give IT away

“I thought I heard the Captain’s voice
It is hard to listen while you preach.” – U2, Every Breaking Wave

u2-2Rolling Stone shouted out five stars for U2’s new album, but it did not stop folks from getting upset with Apple for giving the music away for free. USAToday posted that the outrage was not based on the gift, so much as the form. The gift arrived for every iTunes user, whether they wanted it or not. Taking away our choice was Apple’s sin.

This seems right. We like life to center on ourselves – but we are forced to admit much is out of our control. So we overvalue the little choice we have. A forced free gift is no longer a gift or free, because it was forced.

But fighting over these little decisions sends us “chasing every breaking wave.”

This is why I love U2. In the midst of a troubling week, their music’s blend of dark reality and hopeful light spoke to me. They claim to be a “long way from your Hill of Calvary”, but my soul was encouraged. (Really we should be wary of anyone who claims to be too close to the cross and is not humbled by the majesty of grace!)

Inside the church – the place of healing, empowered to live out the Kingdom of God – we argue. We complain about the mundane. Service length, song style, furniture placement. We chase the waves, but we miss major moments or, worse, we are unable to face them. Then we are left questioning God, just like everyone else on the planet.

I can get caught up in this process. In attempt to show others a better way, I battle a never ending series of waves. Correcting, struggling, preaching… In this I confuse my role as a pastor. As though I need to perfect those around me.

“When we genuinely believe that inner transformation is God’s work and not ours, we can put to rest our passion to set others straight.” – Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

It is not my role to change others. Instead, I point toward Jesus. In His light people must choose. It is a choice between submitting to him or ourselves. To enter into loving grace or to remain in judging resentment. The choice would seem obvious, but it is not a free gift.

I can not choose for others. Only myself. To listen to the captain, I must become silent. And maybe when I stop talking others will hear…

…but think of the complaints I will get when I try my silent sermon!


2 thoughts on “give IT away

  1. Sean,
    I really like Songs of Innocence as well. The first listen I was not impressed. But after several listens I have fallen in love with it. The whole album flows with feeling and power. It really lingers and stays with you after listening.

    Combine those feelings with the deep spiritual lyrics and I find myself in many of the same places you described above. Especially since we are reading Celebration of Discipline, the themes you touch on with the Captain and letting go of that which we can’t control were point on.

    I really love Song for Someone in its majestic and wide open scope. And Iris, which is about Bono ‘s Mother, is also touching especially when he sings to the heavens “Hold me close, the darkness just let’s us see, I got your light inside of me.”

    Good stuff Sean. Can the church fund a social outing to the next U2 concert? ☺

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