"There's a line of scripture ... to be as shrewd as a snake and as innocent as a child."

There was a huge U2 profile in the Observer this weekend, carefully written and full of (admiring) insights, but what particularly struck me was this comment from Bono on U2 live: "I know every piece of that puzzle that we performed last night, and sometimes I really wish I didn't know how it works, but I am still gobsmacked when our equivalent of the rabbit comes out of the hat." My memory from previous band interviews is that they've tended to project a deliberate wide-eyed naivete on this topic (it's a mystery... just waiting for God to walk through the room), and I've often been skeptical of that projection. Come on: at least if you have a spiritually responsive congregation to work with, doesn't every good liturgist/worship leader eventually figure out all too well what processes and denouements will, 80% of the time, flip the switch? Or will let a hint of fresh air through, in preparation for throwing the windows open later? (Use any metaphors you like.) Did the "better than church" guys really expect us to believe that after 25 years they've never sussed it?

The comment reminded me of a warning I heard once that gifted worship leaders are always in danger of degenerating into merely "technicians of the sacred," deploying the right resource at the appropriate moment to produce the desired reaction. You don't get that good without knowing how it works, and once you know how it works it's not easy to maintain the awe that lets you marvel when it does.

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