In Saturday's edition of the New York Times, Bono wrote a brilliant Op-Ed piece as a guest columnist.
He draws our attention to the rhythms of the Easter season; from Carnival (or for some "Fat Tuesday") to the "giving up" of Lent season to the celebration of new birth through the resurrection, he reminds us that as we reflect on this season there are parallels to our own lives. It is a time of soul searching. But it is a soul searching that should not only be personal... but global.
Here is an excerpt:
"I come to lowly church halls and lofty cathedrals for what purpose? I search the Scriptures to what end? To check my head? My heart? No, my soul. For me these meditations are like a plumb line dropped by a master builder — to see if the walls are straight or crooked. I check my emotional life with music, my intellectual life with writing, but religion is where I soul-search.
The preacher said, “What good does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Hearing this, every one of the pilgrims gathered in the room asked, “Is it me, Lord?” In America, in Europe, people are asking, “Is it us?” Well, yes. It is us."
What should we do in response to our soul-searching?
"Lent is upon us whether we asked for it or not. And with it, we hope, comes a chance at redemption. But redemption is not just a spiritual term, it’s an economic concept. At the turn of the millennium, the debt cancellation campaign, inspired by the Jewish concept of Jubilee, aimed to give the poorest countries a fresh start. Thirty-four million more children in Africa are now in school in large part because their governments used money freed up by debt relief. This redemption was not an end to economic slavery, but it was a more hopeful beginning for many. And to the many, not the lucky few, is surely where any soul-searching must lead us."
The primary focus of the Easter season for followers of Christ should be his life, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection... but the life of Christ was one of feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, reaching out and touching those who had been marginalized, challenging the religious institutions of his day. It is this life we are to follow.
As Jesus so clearly reveals to us in the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke's Gospel... we cannot walk by on the other side of the road while people of other nations, tribes and tongues lie there beaten and bruised.
We have to go to them, bandage their wounds, pour in oil and wine, put them on our donkey, take them to the inn, give our silver coins and make sure they are taken care of. After all this we may even need to go back, check in on them and give some more.
This is a picture of redemption.