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January 2018

NO NIGHT DANCERS... (THE ROAD FROM MOROTO TO SOROTI)

 

Murram roads

I found myself in the back seat of a 4 X 4 on a journey from Moroto to Soroti in northern eastern Uganda. Through bad advice and circumstances we were on a very bad road, long after dark, without a signpost to tell us where to go. You are not advised to travel after dark in Africa and after awhile our humour turned to nervous laughter to silence. I have rarely ever been so worried.

As I go over this experience in my soul I see illustrations for the spiritual.

Thanks to Annett, Jim Wallis and Doug Gay for quotes I paraphrase.

Thank you Trevor and Keith for being with me on the road!

 

The tarmac turned to murram road

Road works, pot holes and worse again

There were 100 miles without a signpost

To tell us what was at the end 

Lights were few, very far between

And the darkness closed right in

We were seeing nothing up ahead

But fear’s ferocious grin.

 

We found ourselves further out than doubt

And there was nowhere to go back to

We just drove on, the petrol low

And dug deep to find the faith through

We had strayed too far beyond warning

And now knew what the dangers were

Nervous laughter turned to silence

A car full of frightened prayer.

 

No night dancers, the craic was good

May you never be out there alone

And may home come out to meet you

As you make your journey home

 

When there is no hope, she said

That is a very big illness

It dehydrates your soul strength

And ravages your resilience

Hope is just enough faith, he said

That in spite of what you see

You can see what you’re seeing changing

Into what it is going to be.

 

No night dancers, the craic was good

May you never be out there alone

And may home come out to meet you

As you make your journey home.


HUGH MASAKELA with U2 - EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR

 

U2 and Masakela

I was so sorry to hear today of the passing of Hugh Masakela. Masakela was a South African trumpet player sent into exile during Apartheid. He is known as the father of South African jazz and was a real activist against the struggle for freedom in his native land even if he was doing it from overseas. I read and thoroughly enjoyed his inspiring memoir Still Grazing during my decade taking teams to Cape Town. As I heard the news I was drawn back to this prophetic moment in his career, that I blogged a while back. The moment when he bled the colours into one and gave us the awesome sound of the kingdom come.

When Joshua Tree arrived in March 1987 the song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Lookin For got a lot of the attention. Surely here was the song that proved that Bono and his Irish mates were not Christians and if they had ever been they had backslidden now. How could a Christian not have found what he is looking for?! Of course it was the usual non thinking Christian sensationalist tabloid discussion.

Long before I ever thought of writing a book about U2 I had debated this song across the world with Christians of whom author Os Guinness once stated “would die rather than think. In fact most do!” Those who debated with me the lack of U2’s faith missed two things. First, they missed the Bible where in Philippians 3 St. Paul adds to his declaration that he has found by faith a glorious righteousness that is beyond the law – “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” St. Paul it seems still hadn’t found what he looking for either!

The second thing the non thinking believers missed was the lyrics of the song itself – “You broke the bonds/Loosed the chains/Carried the cross and my shame/You know I believe it.” Such a succinct theology of the work of Christ was number 1 in the USA for four weeks and Christians missed it. For a cheap laugh in my talks about the song across the world I have added that when the darling of Christian music Amy Grant got to Number 1 she was singing “Baby Baby!”

Those same Christians might have missed what I was most inspired by on my first listening to I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Joshua Tree was released as the rock world turned the heat up on its protest with South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Since U2’s previous record Unforgettable Fire, Steve Van Zant’s Artists United Against Apartheid’s star strewn single Sun City had been followed by an album that featured Silver and Gold that Bono had recorded with Rolling Stones’ Keith Richard and Ronnie Wood; a U2 version would appear as a b-side for Where The Streets Have No Name. When I first heard I Still Haven’t Found... the lines “I believe in the kingdom come when all the colours bleed will bleed into one” took me immediately to South Africa. These lines described what the Kingdom was about, apartheid gone as every race and colour becomes one.

Twenty years later I would sit in Cape Town’s District Six Museum reflecting on how apartheid’s ideology, built on a Christian theology, could so smash the Kingdom Of God vision that St. John had in the Book of Revelation, as they bulldozed a huge chunk of Cape Town to divide white from black. U2’s vision of God’s Kingdom was an antithesis and was built on those lines that followed, “You broke the bonds, loosed the chains, carried the cross and my shame...you know I believe it.” U2’s Kingdom was no ethereal pie in the sky but was built on the life and work of Jesus.

On U2’s Fan Club giveaway U22 can be found a potent, perhaps definitive version of the song and these ideas. On this lavish souvenir package of the U2360 Tour we are treated to 22 live highlights. During their gig in the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 13 February 2011 U2 welcomed Hugh Masekela, South African trumpet playing legend and exiled anti-apartheid campaigner into the band for I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

For me it is a spine tingling moment; a political and spiritual tour de force. As Masakela's black jazz trumpet blends into U2’s stadium rock groove the Kingdom of God of the words becomes sound to dwell for a moment or two among us. Masakela, once exiled, once oppressed by injustices because of the colour of his skin, blasts that trumpet out as Bono sings "I believe in the Kingdom come, where all the colours bleed into one" and for a song at least we have all found what we are looking for.

It is the holy beauty that the best of art should always be. It gives us a vision of a better way and a foundation to build the world that we still haven’t found but by God’s grace we continue to look for. Let Hugh Masakela's example lead us on...


HOPE OF LIFE... IN THE KILLING FIELDS OF KARAMOJA

Karamoja Children

Karamoja. It is a word and place that I have thought about for some years. There was a British government ban on visiting there, only lifted in October. The Ndere Cultural dancers portrayed the Karamojong as a rough violent people, even in the act of romancing! My Ugandan friends joke about a common phrase “We are not waiting around for Karamoja to catch up!” I like the underdog. I grew a soft spot for this remote corner of Uganda and its unique people.

Last week I drove into it. It was hot and the rivers were dry. The vegetation was brown and wispy, maybe not barren but seriously undeveloped. The murram roads were rough. There were few signs of civilisation. The mountains separating Uganda from Kenya were beautiful but a little stern too. The children looked thin and there was evidence of little pot bellies. The clothes looked poor and ragged. Even the dogs looked beyond scrawny. 

MP Esther Davinia Anyakun, from nearby Nakapiripirit told me that the first time she visited Karomoret, where we were, she wept. This was the poorest place I had ever been.

The Karamojong have been a little cut off from the rest of Uganda, partly to do with geographic isolation but also to their stubborn desire to remain as they have been. Though they now wear western clothes, over the top is still the traditional shawl blanket. The men all carry a stick, sign of the warrior and the fact that keeping cattle and indeed cattle rustling is part of the DNA.

As we drove in I could not help but think that this was as close as I was going to get to the American wild west of two hundred years ago. I had stolen lines from the Kevin Costner movie Dances With Wolves for a poem I wrote called Bigger Picture -

 

“I want to see the frontier 

Before the frontier’s gone

Miracles happen every day

At the dusk and the dawn…”

 

I really felt that I was seeing the Ugandan frontier.

So why was I here? That is a glorious story. I was there with Fields Of Life for the ground breaking of a new Nursery and Primary School in Karomoret. As Fields of Life celebrate 25 years since their founder Trevor Stevenson felt called to do something in Uganda, the alumni of the schools that Fields of Life have built have fund raised to build this school.

Karamoja Alumni

It is the harvest of the harvest. The children, many of them sponsored whose lives were transformed by the opportunity to go to a school near their homes, have grown up and decided to do for other children what they had gifted to them!

Fields of Life built their first school in 1996 in the infamous Luweero Triangle, known as the killing fields during Museveni’s guerrilla war against the then President Obote. They then went north and built Truth Primary School and Dara High School in Lira when that area was the killing fields of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Liberation Army. Here they were again bringing life to the killing fields of Karamoja.

During the ground breaking ceremony, attended by founder Trevor Stevenson and four of those alumni, MP Esther called on this nomadic herding people to come down off the mountains permanently to get their children an education. Only 20% of Karomojong children are registered for schools! There will need to be a cultural change if children used to looking after cattle are to learn the long term advantages of sitting at a desk. 

As we left through the scrubland, that would be hard too define as a road, I could not help but wonder what this school would open up in Karomoret and the greater Karamoja region. Fields of Life’s three aims of Changing Lives, Transforming Communities, Building Hope, ran around my head. That the alumni were behind this new venture was in so many ways a hope built and fulfilled… and ground being broken for a new hope just beginning!

https://fieldsoflife.org

 


THIS IS SOME HARVEST - 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF FIELDS OF LIFE

Poppers FOL

I am a preacher. Most Sunday mornings in my life I preach sermons full of aspiration. Every week I am attempting to open up the Bible and use it to inspire people to follow Jesus into radical and revolutionary lifestyle that will bring God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It is a weekly mantra hoping for peace, justice, changed individuals and communities, through acts of grace, that extravagant love that moves first and never blocks the potential with conditions.

On January 11, 2018 in Mukono, Uganda I was gifted one of the honours of my life, to bring God’s word to the 25th Anniversary celebrations of Fields Of Life in Uganda. As I looked around I realised that I was preaching into the midst of aspiration already attained. 

Fields of Life’s mission statement is Changing Lives, Transforming Communities, Building Hope. In the hall that we were gathered in, I looked out at those changed lives, the communities transformed and the hope built… and building! It was tangible. 

In 1993 An Irishman from Bray, Co Wicklow arrived in Uganda with the attention of giving some agricultural advice for a school that was thinking of starting a farm. Trevor Stevenson was a curate in an Anglican parish but he had been a farmer. It was a one off trip… but it wasn’t. 

Sensing the call of God, Trevor and his wife Ruth would move out to I've in Uganda in 1995. They could not get land for a farm near the school. So they started a farm a distance away. The community leaders then came and asked them to build them a school. They built one on the farm, opened by Irish President, Mary McAleese. The farm failed but there are now almost 120 Fields of Life built schools, mostly in Uganda but also in Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Congo and South Sudan.

As well as that, they have now drilled bore holes in over 700 places, giving communities the first clean water they have ever had, improving health and the opportunities for children, so often sick through contaminated water, to go to school.

So in front of me as I preached were the people who applied for schools and got their schools. Over the last twenty years hundreds of thousands have went through the schools. The MC for the celebration was Joel who is a Television news anchor man. Half way through the day he realised that he too had once attended a Fields Of Life school - you couldn’t make it up.

Then there are those graduates. Among us there were lawyers, bankers, pop stars and beauty queens. We heard testimony after testimony of individuals and communities who would not be where they are today had Trevor not humbly stumbled and tumbled, one uncertain step at a time after what he believed God wanted him to do. I reached over to him at one point and said, “This is some harvest.”

I could not help but go back to one of my most used quotations. I found this AH Murray quote, via Bob Geldof who was sent it during the Band Aid campaign:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Trevor’s commitment was to Jesus, the providence that moved was the Holy Spirit of God. The boldness of a naive farmer curate from Ireland drew a genius, power and magic that he would call miracle. As I sat beside Trevor at the 25th Anniversary Celebration I didn’t just believe Murray’s words. I knew it was true. The truth was sitting all around me.

Yet, as I sat amongst the harvest I knew it was not the end. Fields Of Life’s work is not finished. the new CEO’s Richard Spratt in Northern Ireland and Ednar Nyakaisiki both pointed to the beginning of the next 25 years. The competent, compassionate and committed Fields of Life team in the hall was evidence of the direction going forward. 

For me, most glorious of all was the alumni, setting off poppers when the cake was being cut but also fund raising for a school project in maybe the poorest side of Uganda, Karamoja. This is a harvest from the harvest, as those who were helped by Fields of Life, help others. 

It is some harvest. It was one of the very thinest places I have ever been, a place where the gap between earth and heaven was only millimetres apart. I was so privileged to experience it!


SUNDAY IN FITZROY, 21.1.18 - IT"S A BIG ONE

Brian Reframing Negatives

Sunday is a busy day in Fitzroy...

At the morning service (11am) I will be telling inspirational stories of the Kingdom stories I have witnessed in Uganda over these past 10 days... The sermon will be filled with pop stars, beauty queens, foster parents and entrepreneurs... the alumni of Fields of Life Schools. We will be in the poorest area of Karamoja to see a community given hope... we will be in Kaberamaido to see Lois getting water after a 75 year old wait. There will be more and the challenge will be to ask how the soil of our self indulgent, materialist, comfortable western world can become fertile again for the radical call of the Kingdom to find root and harvest!

At 5.30 we are launching a new photographic exhibition in Fitzroy. In partnership with Alternatives on Donegal Pass we will launch Reframing The Negatives. The photographs are by Mariusz Smiejek. He was trained as a photojournalist by the National Geographical in Poland. He now lives in Belfast and his work is dedicated to expose issues of post-conflict territories and societies. This exhibition is of a study of local people to South Belfast who have worked as immigrants abroad with the aim of helping us to re-humanise those who come as immigrants into our neighbourhood. I thank Debbie Hammill and Brian Armstrong form South Belfast Alternatives for sharing this exhibition with us and Gordon Ashbridge from Fitzroy for being our curator! Please come along...

... and stay for...at 7pm...

DIALOGUES OF LIFE in which Rabbi David Singer and Rev Dr Ken Newell will speak about how their faiths can engage with other faiths. This is an exciting evening of dialogue between the Jewish and Christina faiths. Rabbi David and ken are exceptional speakers. They ill share for 20 minutes each and I will chair a question and answer session. 

 

 


LOIS, WHO WAITED 75 YEARS FOR CLEAN WATER... THE DRILLERS... and THE FUNDERS...

Lois water

I remember last July in Arua, the West Nile region of Uganda. On the first morning in our accommodation there was no water. I threw a pampered westerner hissy fit! We discovered that it was just that they had switched off the water in that particular block of rooms. I had had to wait an hour to wash my face and flush the toilet!!

Today I sat with Lois in Kaberamaido. She was beautifully wrinkled! Her soul seemed as smooth as a new born. Her voice sounded like the tender strength of resilience itself. She smiled revealing teeth ravaged by injustice. She gestured towards the place she had had to walk for water. As a child, she carried the water, in clay pots on her head. The walk was around ten kilometres each way. The water was dirty, the same water that the cattle used. 

Today, a few minutes after she shared her story, bowing in Ugandan traditional thanksgiving at the feet of Trevor Stevenson the founder of Fields Of Life, the Fields Of Life water drillers struck water… 34 metres down. Charles, our chief hero and miracle worker, in reaching this water, told us that there is an abundance of water. We showed Lois the rocks the team had shattered in drilling through to the water and she could not quite believe it. 

Struck water

Lois waited 75 years for water! 75 years! Clean water. She pointed to her thatched traditional house, maybe now the closest house to the new water pump. The sound of Woolooletters (a high pitched Ugandan scream of excitement!) sounded in our ears. Music was played on the most creative of instruments. I cheered with the drillers. I tried to dance with the community. 

And as this transformation of a community and Lois’s life happened around me, I felt tears well up inside me. Tears for Lois, for sure. It was an honour to meet this woman who had survived such hardship and had lived to see clean water so close to her house! I felt tears for a community that genuinely felt blessed and transformed by this gift of water. The celebratory noise was evidence of deep deep joy, bursting out like the water the drillers had found!

Most of all I felt the tears well up for those who donate the money for the wells. I thought of a friend of mine who quietly, without wanting me to mention his name, raises money for wells in Uganda. As Lois spoke to me I tried with all my might to bring my friend into that scene, to show him what he had done for communities around Uganda. Fields of Life have drilled over 700 wells. These amazing drillers who live under canvas, far from home for many months of the year drill over 100 wells a year. Fields of Life are well on their way to 1 million people benefiting from what these wells do. The wells bring hope and a new start. The day before I had been at the ground breaking of a new school in Karamoja. The school came from a well…. but that is another blog.

Drillers

Tonight I think of Lois, the miracle working drillers and my friend who funds this source of life and health and hope. And I am embarrassed at being so angry at having to wait an hour for water… or even when no hot water comes out of my shower. Lois waited 75 years. Tonight she has water. God bless her and her community in Kaberamaido

 

TONIGHT at 8pm you can see it for yourself with Fields of Life - HERE


SPENDING THE DAY IN A PLACE THAT THE US PRESIDENT CALLED A ****HOLE

Trump

On the day that the US President called African countries “shitholes” (excuse my language but I am quoting) I found myself in an African country, Uganda. Not only that but I found myself in a slum in Kampala. I have been in some of the poorest slums across our world but Kosovo in Kampala is pretty rough. 

As I arrived the skies opened and slums look even poorer in the rain. The lack of tarmac is more obvious, as you hop and jump across wet stagnant puddles and red clay mud. The tarpaulin, that people are hiding under, looks even more fragile. The wood and hardboard of those who live in do-it-yourself shacks look even darker and bleaker. 

Mr President, it would be easy to see why an uncouth rich boy with little compassion might describe this as a ****hole. Well, actually, for me it was the opposite. I could not see what you were describing at all, Mr President. 

I started in Treasure Kids School with Pastor Deo. We celebrated as his son had just got his P7 results which were excellent. Pastor Deo then told me what he has been involved in for nearly 25 years, lifting the people of this slum out of poverty with creative entrepreneurial ideas. He spoke of his Primary school, his bakery school, his tailoring school and all the projects that change the lives of so many people.

Then Levixone arrived. He used to be a street child in Kosovo. He showed us where the pool table was that he used to sleep underneath. He appeared one day, when he was about ten years of age, in Pastor Deo’s school playground to play football. He had hardly any clothes to wear. Pastor Deo connected with this young boy and he became a sponsor child of Fields Of Life, making his way to Grace High School and graduating.

Today, Levixone is a pop star. He has recently been the number 1 artist on more than 20 Ugandan music charts and has just won Best Gospel Artist in Uganda and East Africa - yet again! He is nominated this year for Best Gospel Artist in the entire continent of Africa. I am not easily impressed by singers but Levixone is the real deal. A charismatic performer with great songs and a wonderful voice. His blend of African, dance, reggae and Gospel has made him a celebrity.

So, Mr President, let me tell you what Ugandan pop stars do. Levixone was thrilled to be taking the man he calls Uncle T (Rev. Trevor Stevenson), the founder of Fields of Life, to a house in the middle of the slums. We jumped and hopped our way over the excess water to a house, a little bigger than the ones around it. 

Levixone showed us a ramshackle chicken coup type construction at the side of the house. Levixone and another Fields of Life alumni, Trinity, have an organisation called 92 Hands (they were born in 1992) that does various projects to help the poor in Kosovo. One of those projects is a feeding programme. When they came to this house, it had been washed away and the woman and her children were living in the ramshackle wooden construction.

 

Chicken coup Kosovo

So, what do pop stars do Mr President? Well, Levixone and Trinity got their mates together and built her a house. I have built houses with Habitat For Humanity and this was a well built sturdy house. 

House Levixone built

Mr President, I was impressed…. but there was more. I watched the way Levixone communicated with everyone we met. He had time for everybody. Stopping. Calling people by name. Leaning over to talk to the children. 

With us on the trip was KevLX, a singer Levixone has taken under his wing. Another Kosovo boy, KevLX heard Levixone’s music while he was in prison and when he got out he tracked Levixone down. He now lives with Levixone and he himself is transformed by the example of Levixone and the Jesus that Levixone sings about.

It was a rather impressive day Mr President. Pastor Deo’s passion, compassion, patience and commitment to his people. Wow! Levixone’s giving back for what he has received from others, when he could be the cool pop star who made it out. Wow! 

It is very easy Mr President from the decadent wealth of where we were lucky enough to be born to call Pastor Deo and Levixone’s slum, or even country, a “s***hole”. Can I tell you though that what I discovered today is that you could not be any more wrong. 

Your wealth Mr President and that of your country is limited to shillings (the currency of Uganda). I saw a riches today that far outweighs all your dollars and the tax benefits you are giving to your so called rich citizens. Today in one of the very places that you dared to disgustingly call a “****hole” I saw the treasure of human souls deeply compassionate for the poor. I felt that it might be as close to heaven as I have ever come. It was a privilege of my life. Apologies again for the language. I know… it is not very Presidential!

https://fieldsoflife.org

 


STOCKI IN UGANDA BLOG #1 - I BLAME MY MOTHER-IN-LAW & A GREAT UNCLE

Me  Jani and Lillian

Not long after midnight and I’ll be off to Dublin to fly to Amsterdam to catch a flight to Uganda, probably calling in at Kigali, Rwanda for an hour along the way. I will be delighted to be back in Uganda. This is my fourth trip in less than four years and I hope to spend six week there this summer with my family. I blame my mother-in-law and my Great Uncle Tommy.

It was in my first trip to Uganda in 2015 that I considered their holy crime. I looked around at my wife and daughters and realised that Africa is where they come alive. My mother-in-law, Anne Gordon, who passed away in 2009, came into my mind. She loved Africa, though to be fair, it was the countries further south that she had visited and prayed for. Along with my father-in-law Bryan they headed up the Irish department of Africa Evangelical Fellowship which later submerged into SIM. 

I think Anne would like to have spent more time than she did in Africa and I believe the prayed that Janice would have a love for the continent too. I couldn’t help but think she’d be pretty pleased that not only had her prayers covered her daughter but now her son-in-law was now drawn in and her granddaughters were smitten too! 

My Dad’s Uncle Tommy never moved far from Ahoghill and Galgorm, just outside Ballymena. He died when I was around 11 years of age. From what I am told he was a prayer warrior and one time when he was ill the missionary Helen Roseveare told him was the most prayed for white man in the Congo because the Congo knew of wee Tommy’s prayers. It struck me one afternoon in our Primary School in Onaileku that I was less than ten miles form the Congo border. Tommy would be pretty pleased too!

Perhaps the prayers of those who go before us mark our trail. In the morning my trail is off to Uganda again. Fitzroy’s partnership in Uganda is with Fields of Life and I fly tomorrow with their CEO Richard Spratt and Board member Angus Wilson. We will spend two days at the Fields of Life Teachers’ Conference outside Kampala before celebrating 25 Years of Fields Of Life on Thursday.

After that I will be on tour with the founder of the organisation Trevor Stevenson. We will be tracing his steps around key landmarks, farms and schools from Kampala to Lira to Gulu across to Karamoja and back down the eastern side of the country. All of this is in researching a book about 25 years of Fields Of Life that I hope to be helping to write this year.

I am excited and apprehensive tonight but this morning I preached in Fitzroy about new spiritual adventures for the new year. Practice what you preach, preacher boy! In a few hours I will leap off the ledge into this new adventure. If you are the praying kind… I hope to be blogging the journey so if you are interested…


U2: LOVE IS BIGGER THAN ANYTHING IN ITS WAY - SONGS OF EXPERIENCE Song by Song

Love Is Bigger U2

Well, we have noted on Soul Surmise already, and Bono has documented it in the albums liner notes, Songs of Experience are like letters to people and places that Bono loves. Here’s another one for his children and it sounds like this time it particularly focuses on his son Elijah, who is actually on the cover of the record, holding hands with Edge’s daughter Sian.

Elijah is in a rock band Inhaler and Bono is the rock star father having to let his boy go and journey alone: -

 

"The door is open to go through

If I could I would come too

But the path is made by you

As you're walking start singing and stop talking"

 

Bono’s belief in the power of music and his desire to make a contribution to the world in his music is also right here:

 

"So young to be the words of your own song

I know the rage in you is strong

Write a world where we can belong

To each other and sing it like no other"

 

Career or vocational advice is all well and good but Bono is writing to his boy about the everyday and the spiritual as well as specifically the music.

 

"If the moonlight caught you crying on Killiney Bay

Oh sing your song

Let your song be sung

If you listen you can hear the silence say

When you think you're done

You've just begun"

 

That voice in the silence. Bono speaks in the liner notes of the “still small voice” that he has been hearing since his teens.

Those last two lines take us to the heart of Bono’s experience during Songs Of Experience. Bono thought he was done. In that space of near death, something new peeked through and these songs seem to be imbibed with an energy that seems to have new priorities that is saying goodbye to the world and way it expects, demands and says to find the importance of his own unique soul.

And the lesson arcing over the entire letter is this anthemic sound, simple but profound, - “Love is bigger than anything in its way.” Love is important to Bono, it is what has gotten him through since that hole left with the death of his mother when he was 14; love of Ali, love of his children, love of his band and the love of that “still small voice”, God. 

It’s a mantra to take with you through any doors that might open or close in your life. And as he sings to Elijah, Bono preaches to himself: -

 

"Oh, if I could hear myself when I say

(Oh love) love is bigger than anything in its way…"


TOMORROW IN FITZROY 7.1.18

Fitzroy Board

Tomorrow morning (11am) in Fitzroy we will be having a good audit of our lives, wringing out the old and bringing in the new. A reflection/poem/prayer I wrote on  New Year's Eve (read it HERE) will be at the centre of our worship, led with his soul sensitive wonder by Chris Blake. The sermon will leap off that reflection into the Lectionary Readings from Mark 1 and Genesis 1 before landing on the tears and fears we want to ring out and the grace and hope we long to bring in. As I prepare I am seeing a section of the sermon based on the spiritual inspirations found in the new U2 record Songs Of Experience.

There is NO evening event.