“What once was fiction”

I shared some thoughts with my friend Adam Fischer, and realized they’d fit in with TCG.

U2 has a song called “Grace” from their album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind. I was not an instant fan; rather, the song grew on me over time, and now I often sing it to my girls at bedtime.

A line goes, “She travels outside of karma.”  I’ve long loved this one, referring to grace, and thought it a lovely expression for what I believe grace to be.  Grace operates outside of blind justice, and has no interest in giving us, strictly, what we deserve.  Rather, it represents a flow of blessings, the workings of the highest mind, which is subject to nothing while offering goodness to all.

Just today, another line offered unexpected depth.  “What once was hurt, what once was fiction, what left a mark no longer stains.”

The first and last descriptions have always made some sense.  All three, in fact.  Yet the middle one suddenly meant more.

Hopefully this thought is not based on a flawed understanding – from what I have read, there are a number of myths involving a god coming to live among humans, the son of a god dying and rising to life again.  These myths some skeptics have claimed as defeating arguments against Christianity – not only is it myth-like, it’s not even original.  They stole the ideas and applied them to their failed Messiah.

However, as one thinker or another has said, it is clear that most of people who adopted these gods typically recognized such stories as myths, in contrast to actual historical events they might have based their beliefs on.  It was a matter of culture, and even if they offered sacrifices, the practice was more about being a member of the society than anything like faith.  In any case, no one claimed to have been an eyewitness to the stories of origin.

Christianity, in contrast, the bearer of the good news of God’s grace for all, claimed that the life, death, and resurrection of the man-God were historical realities.  While some critics go so far as to claim Jesus never existed, this is a rather extreme view of the situation (and would lead us to doubt the existence of many other historical figures, if not virtually all of them).

And so the story of a god coming to dwell among men, and dying and rising to life again, “once was fiction.”  It may even have represented the hope of whole civilizations, who did not believe it about their gods and yet, perhaps, wished that it would become a reality.

If U2 intended this meaning for that one small line – well, in either case, I am amazed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *