U2charist, de-mystified

Well, I'm back with a report on the U2charist, for all you couch-communicants out there. (And thank you Camille & Angel for showing up and singing along....) I showed up at 6:50 for the 7:00pm service & was surprised to find the front doors of the church locked. Now, call me a product of the seeker-friendly church generation, but having the doors unlocked 10 minutes before the service begins seems the very first rule in Church Service 101. After some time on the cold front steps, we had a flurry of older people all trying to get someone there with a key, and when this person materialized and we stood in the dark narthex, the patting- the- walls- and- looking-for-a-light-switch began. It was hopeless! I couldn't tell if it was a part of extreme disorganization, or extremely low-expectations. There was a fairly rollicking pancake supper happening next door in the church hall (think: Shrove Tuesday a.k.a. Mardi Gras, use up your ingredients to get ready for Lent, if I have the story straight.) So, maybe the church just expected people to come over from the hall when the supper was finished. However, if they were going to go through all the trouble to print up flyers and invite the general public, they could at least expect that maybe ONE person from the outside would show up, and then have the doors open and lights on for her when she came. Really, I'm not ranting, I thought it was all very endearing, and I must admit that I liked the sort of absent-minded clergy aura that the priest was giving off much better than most of the mega-church pastors I have seen. And the church itself is lovely, with it's Elvish gas lamps, very light, lilting, & decorous up the aisles, and the narrow stained glass windows and vaulted ceiling. And the people were very nice.
I Will Sing, Sing A New Song

Low lights, video screen showing the words of various U2 songs, acompanied by words and text that highlighted statistics and verses that dealt with global poverty and other issues. There was a band that played along with the U2 recordings. They were not bad. It was a little odd to be rocking out in that context, although I am much used to the drums-as-part-of-worship idea. Maybe it was the incongruity of the accompanying liturgy and 'bells and smells' of a high church setting. I don't know. Anyway, I discovered something during this experience, quite apart from the conviction that I am a materialistic git and hopelessly unused to thanking God for all my good gifts (eucharisti: good gift).
I Believe in the Kingdom Come
When all the colors will bleed into one
The soundtrack to my high school years was largely peppered with U2. I was an avowed REM freak-o, so I wasn't into U2 as much as some, but I did stand in line for the opening of Rattle and Hum, I loved Joshua Tree, and even would play the second side to fall asleep most nights. It is an intensely familiar album, which I didn't realize it until we were singing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, and it hit me. All through high school, I was pretty much a closet Christian. Every now and again, I would stick my head outside the closet door, but generally, I kept a spiritually low profile. I was much afraid of the general consensus of my anarchist, black-wearing, Smiths/Pogues/Jane's Addiction/Fugazi-listening friends . Their approval was critical to my survival on Teen Planet. Thank God I got away from all that after high school, and my need for approval is a distant memory..... (ha!). Anyway, I kept my Christianity to Sundays. I believed it all, and really wished I could be more open about my faith to my friends, but I was a chicken. So there I was, walking around Harbor High, feeling alone deep down where it matters, and all along, there was this band that was Christian, and I had no idea. I really didn't have a clue that U2's lyrics spoke of Christ & of belief in Him. I had no Christian peers to clue me in. And more importantly, I wasn't looking for God; my eyes weren't open to finding Him in the world around me. I think I believed that He wouldn't want to be in my culture during the week, and that if He liked music at all, it was probably Amy Grant. (No, really, I actually thought stuff like that, this isn't a cheap shot at ole Amy. Easy target.) I try now to find God all over the place, because I figure that He got His hands dirty coming down here to be human, and so He probably doesn't have a lot of qualms about what sort of things He uses to get my attention. The world feels bigger now, and more free, and it all reminds me of something my Irish friend Ivan told me as we were walking along Fall Creek. "Christianity," he said, "Is not about what you can't do, it's about what you can do." Amen, brother.

Gloria in te domine

Gloria exultate

Gloria gloria
O Lord, loosen my lips


Anonymous said...

Dear Rosa-
Sounds like a very interesting event. Wish I had abandon the comforts of home and hot footed it down there...who knew. Keep telling me about these kind of things.

From your #1 blog fan,

Camille said...

hey Rosa,

thanks for inviting me! I had a blast. Viva jesu christo!

angel said...

Hi Rosa,

Thank you thank you for the invite as well! It was great & I'm so glad I went. It was a little odd combo, I agree, a good oddity though, & it was a rush seeing U2's words come alive on that screen that night. The stats intermingling with the lyrics held such a deeper meaning than say being in my car listening to them. It was funny, though, as we were singing I was straining to make out Bono in the mist of the cover band's vocals.

A high school story:
I remember getting the nerve in high school to ask for U2's Achtung Baby tape for Christmas. My mom was like, "Is that a ROCK band?!" I wish I'd known more then what they were about, but maybe having that bit of music rebellion as a teenager was a thrilling rite of passage (i.e. as in "Yes! There is music beyond Amy Grant. And Santa is going to bring me U2 for Christmas or I will sneak out & buy it.)
Oh, and I may have "defiantly" (well, in a manner of speaking) asked for a U2 tape, but The Smiths were definitely kept on the downlow. My mom once saw my REM tape single of "Losing My Religion" and flipped out! He apparently looked like this 'evil' man lurking in the shadows attempting to pluck my religion from me (according to my mom) & when my mom saw that, she began to look like an evil woman in the shadows about to pounce.
Ahh, the memories! :)

Dona nobis pacem,

Rosa said...

May we all 'lose our religion' and grow in love for and likeness to Jesus!
O Jesu, Jesu, Jesu,
Unto Whom all praise is due
(ancient Celtic prayer).
Somehow much better than
"I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel on the inside." (Morrissey)

Rosa said...

Also, B says 'Losing My Religion' is best sung in the manner of Elmer Fudd. I agree; MUCH less pretentious. Peter Buck's mandolin IS particularly lovely on that one,though....

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.