On Sunday I travelled to the impressive O2 Arena in London with my eldest son Joel to witness the Innocence and Experience tour touching ground here in the U.K. The band U2 have remained a constant in my life since the age of about 14 and during that time I have seen them four times, dating right back to the War tour where I saw them in Ipswich of all places. I love their songs, their sound and their spirituality. Many of their songs touch me at a deep level, and although I have gone through many musical fads and tastes and journeys they have always been there. I understand they are not everyone’s cup of tea, that Bono can appear too in your face and pious, but there is something about this little band from Dublin. Despite terrible seats, a big screen was covering part of the stage, we were soon drawn into an experience, an encounter, a journey of love, passion, hope, God. Singing along to such classics as ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ and ‘I Will Follow’ as well as tracks from the new album, the crowd sang as one with a huge smile on their faces. This was about a community of fans enjoying the band they loved, the songs they adored and grew up with and a night to remember. It was an amazing two and a half hours of classic music. Made the long drive home worthwhile, arriving home tired, satisfied, on top of the world. Once again this band had conquered my heart.
Every Breaking Wave.
“Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave?”
One of the songs that has grabbed my attention on the new album is ‘Every Breaking Wave’. Many sermons/talks/blogs could be shared from this one song. The thought of stopping the chase after those breaking waves has stirred my heart in a strange way. You see through-out my Christian life I have been seeking out and chasing after the waves of revival and renewal. I have driven all over Britain to surf the waves of Toronto and Pensacola. Run after prophetic movements and went wherever I could sense a well of refreshing. I have created waves and read all the latest books on what the next move is going to look like, so I could have my surf board ready and primed to find the next contemporary breaking wave. But what was that all about in a life of constants? Was it pure escapism from the reality of life and the ordinary? Was it only the thought of a better, more exciting life that kept us going until the next weekend? While we sought out a more supernatural day, God showed us a more natural way, the way of living on earth in flesh. I ran the country hunting out other storm chasers, while I neglected the family and community God had placed me within. The waves became the focus rather than the people. Who cared if they were drowning as long as I was riding the biggest waves around. Thankfully I am no longer impressed by the fizz of waves. I realised that no matter how many waves there were, there would always be another one, and each one would always end up at the same place. I have stopped chasing after every breaking wave.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
While we crave the excitement of a fresh buzz, David craved something different. He asked God for a steadfast spirit. Now that doesn’t sound very exciting. That is not going to thrill young people and radicals and event addicts. That is not going to turn on storm chasers and supernatural lovers. A steadfast spirit. Constant. Loyal. Unfaltering and unchanging. Unwavering. Level. Much of the Christian walk can be about highs and lows, mountains and valleys, but God is looking for a spirit that is a level playing field. Not hyped up into third heaven ecstasy, or crashing into deep moments of despair. Yes life and emotion will deal both those cards, but our spirits should be unwavering. We should not need the conference or new worship sound to lift us up, at the same time that crisis of faith and times of question should not cause a shipwreck. Steadfast spirits are always there. They never seem to get carried away or snowed under. They are reliable and faithful in relationship, not fair-weather friends. Community is built on such people, not upon the glory hunters of this world. After all is gone only the constant remains. The steadfast.
In my music world U2 have been my constant. Ever since I first heard New Year’s Day I have journeyed with this band. As Allison sometimes has said, if they released a fart on record I would buy it, which is probably true. And this leads to another truth of constant. Allison. This year we celebrate our 25th Anniversary, on the 29th December. 25 years this woman has put up with me. Put up with my fads and my whims. Put up with my prophetic wildness and wilderness wanderings. Put up with me disappearing to find the thrills and put up with my pain as people stabbed me and criticised me. Supported things she has not understood and supported me to others when she could easily have slapped me herself. Put up with me going out to preach while she was starting the dark night of a miscarriage, and put up with me wandering the country platforms while she got on with the day to day home life. Put up with my lack of interest in building a home while I was busy building the Kingdom and prophetic empires. And that is just the religious junk. She has put up with my mood swings and laziness, put up with my irritating opinions and general lack. And she has put up with stuff that will never get recorded or is not for human consumption. Through it all she has been constant, unwavering, steadfast in her love and commitment. Through all my wild wanderings she has been there, and for that I am so grateful. When all others departed she was there for me. I may not have been the best husband over this 25 year period, but I thank God for someone who was not out to chase breaking waves, but was out to build home, life and family. Her life is an example to me, as well as many others whose lives she will touch. A lesson in steadfastness.
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