For some reason, of late, I’ve been struck by a number of situations in
my life and in those of some of the people I know where they’ve had to
keep learning the message of surrendering in the face of Love.
There’s a U2 lyric that has run through my head often as this has been
happening: “Love is not the easy thing/ The only baggage you can bring/
Is all that you can’t leave behind.”
Which of course resonates quite heavily in statements from the gospel
like “Those who wish to save their life will lose it, but those who
lose their life for my sake will find it.” It’s profound and yet
obvious that real love — of family, friends, partner, God — can’t
happen until we drop all that we can of what we’re carrying. And
we’ll find a way in that love to drop that which we think we
can’t. One must stop holding tightly to things and people if one
wants to give and receive, because we only do those with open hands.
So it rang a little bell for me to find out that this continues to play out (glad for the pun) on the European leg of the Vertigo tour.
While playing songs from Achtung Baby, the part of the show where
slogans have traditionally filled the huge video screens and flashed
through at high speed (“beLIEve” “Everything you know is wrong” “Watch
more TV”), that trend continues, but the message is vastly different.
There are dialogues in different colors:
I HAVE NO MONEY I HAVE NO POWER
THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK
As we learn how to fight “Them,” “They” go on telling lies, often
in red and black, and near the end the truth comes out, superimposed
over big white words like HOPE:
THE SECRET IS YOURSELF
THE SECRET IS YOUR PAIN
THE SECRET IS LETTING GO GIVING UP GIVING IN
[and here I was expecting at last to get the ironic turn, the way "it's
your world you can change it" used to shift to "charge it," but, no,
the 90s are well and truly gone:]
GIVING IN TO…
gold and white. And then the thing reverses itself, and plays the
beginning backwards until “their” lies and “our” apathy/powerlessness
disappear into nothingness before your eyes.
That is how we overcome the power of the world we live
in–we live into love. I was speaking with a friend a few days
ago, and he was talking about how the ultimate power is information,
how knowledge can defeat what one’s enemies throw at you, how
information is the ultimate tactical weapon, whether one is a state, a
person, an organization. I remembered that love is stronger than
all that, because it removes us from needing or caring about the
tactics of advantage and dominion. When we live into love, like
Oscar Romero or Aun San Suu Kyi, power and advantage and death cease to
have real meaning.
And you can learn this at a rock concert.