As a fan of the music group U2, I found it interesting to learn that the Church of England will incorporate the bands’ music into religious services as a way to bring people to their faith and raise money and awareness for anti-hungry and anti-poverty efforts around this world.
The ties to religion in U2’s lyrics are not difficult to find, especially if you know that several members of the band searched for their own religious path early in their careers. In thinking of my favorite U2 songs a random question came to mind: When was the last time I read the Bible entirely?
What’s the connection between the biggest rock band in the world and the best selling book in the history of the world? When you think of a band, you think of its most popular songs. But if you are a fan, your favorite songs are often those that don’t receive the most radio airplay.
For many of us, the same is true about the Bible. We hear the lector every week at services, meaning we are exposed to “the greatest hits,” but we rarely go deeper into the catalog, to use a phrase from the music industry.
Many of us know Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I lack,” but how many know that “Keep me the apple of your eye” comes from Psalm 17 or that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” comes from Psalm 111?
If we allow it, the Bible can entertain, educate, and make us better people, something neither John Grisham nor J.K. Rowling can do. Yet we embrace their works while keeping the Bible at arm’s length.
To overcome this obstacle, we need to read the Bible in the way it was intended, not as one book but as many. When approached this, the Bible become much more approachable and entertaining. A good place to start is the shortest book, the Third Letter of John, found between the Second Letter of John and the Book of Jude.
The Third Letter of John is less than 500 words, shorter than this article. In it John offers words of encouragement to Gaius and requests continued support in spreading the young faith. Once you’ve completed the Third Letter of John, a task you could complete during the commercial break of your favorite TV show, turn to the shortest book in the Old Testament, Obadiah, which contains a battle cry against an enemy of Israel: “Though you go as high as the eagle, and your nest be set among the stars, from there will I bring you down, says the Lord.”(And to think many say Stephen King writes the best thrillers.)
When the Bible no longer intimidates, you will learn aspects of your faith that may amaze you. As you leave the Church and reflect upon your newfound knowledge, stop and listen to the radio. You may find that the lyrics of U2 reflect the word of the Lord. As frontman Bono sings in “Gloria” and Paul writes in his letter to Colossians, “Only in you I’ m complete.”
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