Reflecting on U2’s new album

What causes us trouble?

I’ve been listening to U2’s new album, Songs of Innocence. Do you have it? The chances are, you might have it without even realizing. It was given for free to over 500 million people by being placed unordered into our iTunes accounts.

I did find it interesting that this caused so much outrage.  People have complained that getting the album for free without asking was an invasion of their privacy.  It does seem as though we’re not very good at accepting gifts!  And when we don’t accept a gift, it does show what we think of the giver.

As far as the album itself goes, U2 have said that they are exploring how hard it is to hold on to one’s innocence.

And their final track deserves a bit of thought.

You can listen to it here:

Bono’s first line is challenging enough … “You think it’s easier to put your finger on the trouble, when the trouble is you.”

To a haunting melody, “The Troubles” then includes the repeated refrain, “Somebody stepped inside your soul, somebody stepped inside your soul, Little by little they robbed and stole, Till someone else was in control.”

But then there’s a climactic verse where Bono begins, “God knows…”

It sounds as though he means what people usually mean by the phrase. When people say, “God knows”, they tend to mean, “nobody knows”.

But I think what Bono means here is that God really does know what he’s about to describe…

He says, “God knows it’s not easy taking on the shape of someone else’s pain.”

Then in the next line Bono speaks of the way God’s willingness to bear his pain has changed him … “God now you can see me. I’m naked and I’m not afraid. My body’s sacred and I’m not ashamed.”

A song that begins with the chilling thought that someone or something has grabbed our soul, ends with the confident hope that Someone more powerful still has taken on our pain so that He could grab it back…

Romans 5:6-8 says this:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.