Sound, Structure, Spirit

Some time ago e~mergent kiwi posted a piece with a short list of things he learned from Bono about worship leading. More recently, the Aquidneck Island Worship Network offered a piece with a similar title: "Lessons Learned From U2 for Leading Worship", but a more technical and thorough focus on precisely what about the band's music and show design facilitates encounters with God at their concerts (and why the sound of U2 has been borrowed by so many worship bands). Also has a nice section on why true liturgical music can't be pre-recorded.

Among the several points made:
--"A well-defined ambient and atmospheric sound... facilitates the soul in meditation on a focal point. It encourages a sense of something beyond or beneath the seen world - faith in an unseen Reality... In the case of U2, the Irish-influenced drone harkens to Celtic spirituality, which not only carries a feeling of spiritual grounding in tradition, but also feels consistant with Bono's lyrics.
--"U2's consistent lyrical emphasis on real world issues with transcendent sounds instructs the soul in being in the world but not of it. It's missional. It's catalytic. People who resonate with this element of the music want the Kingdom of God to be at hand. The good news is that IT IS!
--"Integration of ambient music with spoken word is a technique used commonly in a lot of churches. Bono frequently uses the instrumental refrains of songs as platforms to speak out on an issue. ...the verses sung, the lingering sounds and melodies are still in the air, and there is a beautiful pedestal for Truth to stand on... It penetrates us deeper. It becomes harder to remain ambivalent."

And many more. Worth a read whether you're a presider, music leader, or just someone wondering about the sonic technique behind the "work of the people" vibe at a U2 show.

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