10th anniversary repost: From January 2004


[grid blog :: Epiphany]
This is a sort of ad hoc end to the Advent grid blog, which Bob Carlton proposed only yesterday as a way of marking the end of the Christmas season. He writes, "In many traditions, [Jan 6] is the feast of Epiphany, which originated in the Eastern Church, centering upon three mysteries: (1) the incarnation, God's coming to us as Christ (2) the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river and (3) Jesus' first miracle, the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Together these portray the way God manifested to the world in Christ." By the way, one of my very favorite hymns is designed around these "manifestation" mysteries plus another, the Transfiguration.

So, the theme is Epiphany, and instead of a song, I have a question. If you were trying to preach these themes using a U2 song, and began to look through texts in search of good Epiphany references, you'd probably notice that most seeming "manifestation" moments are often immediately turned inside out and their meaning revealed as idolatrous. U2 spiritual lyrics, when you read them, are much more likely to lament or denounce a situation that manifests God's absence than they are to celebrate God's presence. And yet, everyone associates U2 with transcendence and joy.

So how is it that a band who provide so many epiphany-experiences to people manage to do so while only very rarely writing, head-on, about unalloyed epiphanies? Talk amongst yourselves.

Read more: http://u2sermons.blogspot.com/2004_01_01_archive.html#ixzz2QeAur1rK


Camassia said...

Do you remember if you got any interesting comments to this?

U2 Sermons said...

Camassia -- I'm reposting the comments from that entry below.....

What about "Falling at Your Feet"?
Plus (maybe):-
Beautiful Day
I Will Follow
(Or are these too general)

Grace & Peace
Posted by Derek(www) at 13:30 6/1/2004

Well, of course "Falling at Your Feet" isn't technically a U2 song... altho yes, I could see it as picturing an Epiphany moment.

Everything on your list communicates joy, for sure. But pointing out a place or situation where God's glory is manifest? To my ears, "Elevation," "Gloria" and "Follow" are more focused on one's reaction (and often inadequacy) and never quite dwell on what that reaction is *to.* I hear "Beautiful Day" as roughly "this situation has a lot of down sides, but if you remember God's promises, you'll make it through."

"Grace" is the one that would fit the themes I'm looking for best, of locating a manifestation of God somewhere - maybe a good turning water into wine song, e.g., - but interestingly, it doesn't have that exuberant joy the others do.
Posted by Beth(www) at 14:05 6/1/2004

I was thinking that in Beautiful Day, the bridge section commands the listener to "see..."
In Gloria there is also the call to "see" albeit in Latin!
Grace & Peace
Posted by Derek(www) at 18:54 6/1/2004

Aha! I'm with you now....
Posted by Beth(www) at 19:10 6/1/2004