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A U2 Eucharist?! Why Not?

John on April 2, 2006 at 1:46 pm

I’m a huge U2 fan. Have been since I heard Under a Blood Red Sky playing in a Georgetown record shop circa 1983. I have every album, know every song, played about a dozen of their songs in the band I was in through my college years. I’m a serious fan.

Any Christian who has ever been to a U2 show can tell you it can be one of the most worshipful experiences of your life. Something about hearing 20,000 people sing the 40th psalm together really changes how you look at things.

So today I read about this new trend of having U2 Eucharists and my first thought was, “Why haven’t we done this before now?” I’m sure this will rub a lot of people the wrong way and that’s certainly not my intent. I just think it’s a great idea, one that really could connect with a lot of people who usually wouldn’t attend a church service.

As a matter of fact, it’s an idea that my church is going to put into practice this Easter. We’re having one giant service (1000+) at a high school football stadium and part of our appeal to people is that we’ll be doing music by U2, Coldplay, Switchfoot, etc.

Is that appropriate? Some people say no.

But this is where I line up in complete agreement with the Emergent folks. In my view, what’s appropriate is absolutely anything that connects God’s unadulterated message to people outside his kingdom. What’s not appropriate is making no real effort to lower the threshold boundaries between us and them. If the liturgy is a barrier, tear it down. If the hymnal is a barrier, toss it out. There is great wisdom in both of course, but our first concern is not with communicating the wisdom of the church fathers or the reformers of the 16th century or the excellence of 19th century hymns. The message of Christ is THE message. Over time, we can work some of the “oldies but goodies” back in.

Anyway, for those who want to hear the sort of music we do at our services, check here for live versions. All of the arrangements are done by my good friend Nate Watkins who is the Worship pastor at our church. I realize this isn’t for everyone, but here in Southern California it’s a lot closer to where people are than “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

A U2 Eucharist. What a good idea.

Update 04/06: This is what I love about blogging. I write a post about U2 Eucharists and Rev. Paige Blair, the person mentioned in the article I linked to above as the creator of this idea, drops by and leaves an encouraging note in the comments. Ten years ago that never could have happened.

Though my church is officially Southern Baptist I hope to prevail upon our music pastor to appropriate this excellent idea in the near future. Still, our church has performed perhaps half a dozen U2 songs during regular services over the last couple years, including Grace, Yahweh, 40 and I’m pretty sure we did Beautiful Day. We’ve also done quite a few by Coldplay including The Message, In My Place, Clocks, We Never Change, and Fix You.

“Lights will guide you home…” Yes indeed.

Update 8-30-07: I received an e-mail informing me that Paige was not (and never claimed to be) the creator of the U2charist. That honor goes to Sarah Dylan Breuer who created it April 17, 2004. Let the record stand corrected.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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