A co-worker sent me the link to an article today from the NY Times. It was an op-ed written by guest columnist Bono titled “It’s 2009. Do You Know Where Your Soul Is?” The title asks an interesting question; one that could take a conversation (or article in this case) in several different directions, depending on who was doing the talking or writing. (Note: Bono is a Christian–of the Catholic variety, I believe.) The column was published a few weeks ago, which doesn’t make it any less relevant today (or whenever you’re reading this…which I suppose will always be a “today”), but it’s worth noting when it was written because the article was written from the perspective of someone who just recently journeyed through Lent and celebrated Easter.
Here’s an excerpt from the column, but to read the entire thing you’ll have to jump over to the NY Times website.
Christianity, it turns out, has a rhythm — and it crescendos this time of year. The rumba of Carnival gives way to the slow march of Lent, then to the staccato hymnals of the Easter parade. From revelry to reverie. After 40 days in the desert, sort of …
Carnival — rock stars are good at that.
“Carne” is flesh; “Carne-val,” its goodbye party. I’ve been to many. Brazilians say they’ve done it longest; they certainly do it best. You can’t help but contract the fever. You’ve got no choice but to join the ravers as they swell up the streets bursting like the banks of a river in a flood of fun set to rhythm. This is a Joy that cannot be conjured. This is life force. This is the heart full and spilling over with gratitude. The choice is yours …
It’s Lent I’ve always had issues with. I gave it up … self-denial is where I come a cropper. My idea of discipline is simple — hard work — but of course that’s another indulgence.
Then comes the dying and the living that is Easter.
It’s a transcendent moment for me — a rebirth I always seem to need. Never more so than a few years ago, when my father died. I recall the embarrassment and relief of hot tears as I knelt in a chapel in a village in France and repented my prodigal nature — repented for fighting my father for so many years and wasting so many opportunities to know him better. I remember the feeling of “a peace that passes understanding” as a load lifted. Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith — pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea.
Interestingly enough, I will be attending a forum at Luther Seminary this Thursday, May 7 titled “Pop Culture, Worship and the Work of Justice: why Bono keeps trying to save the world.” It’s part of a year-long series of forums on “Mission and Ministry” and the presenter this week will be Dr. Chris Scharen, assistant professor of worship at Luther Seminary. I believe the forums are open to the public, so if you don’t have lunch plans feel free to stop over to the Olson Campus Center, Thursday at noon.