Finding God on Your iPod: U2 and a Girl Called Grace

On Sunday my wife protested my song choice for this series. It had something to do with picking “songs so obscure only I could love them.” So I promised her one Sunday of a song by a band most of us would know. And that Sunday, was last Sunday. And that band was U2. We listened to and jumped, taught through the song “Grace”.



The song “Grace” has some beautiful lyrics. And what is wonderful is they give a starting point to hear some familiar words with fresh ears. 1 Corinthians 13 is commonly known as the love chapter. It is read at weddings, and is now so overly familiar that it’s lost some of its “oompf”. So to regain some of that we read 1 Corinthians 13, along with Bono’s lyrics to make some new connections.

Bono sings that “Grace has the time to talk”. And I love that line because not only is it true, it’s also incredibly pertinent and practical. Paul says that love is patient, but for many of us we are so busy we don’t even have time to talk. Time to listen. Time to show love through our giving of ourselves.

Paul continues saying that love is anything but rude, proud, or self-centered. Love, in essence, isn’t aggressive, showy, and loud. Or as Bono talks about love and grace “when she goes to work / you can hear her strings”. Love sounds like strings of invitation, movement, and gentle melody. Pride though as Paul says, sounds like a clanging cymbal.

Paul writes that love doesn’t keep records of wrongs. This is something I wish we would not only know, but practice. But sometimes we’ve heard it so often we forget it too quickly. Bono gets at the same things singing, “Grace moves outside of karma”. Grace and love aren’t record keepers, but forgiveness givers. And lastly, we looked at how love lasts and never gives up. Or as Bono puts it, “it’s a thought that changed the world.”

We tried to use the song to get a fresh glimpse into Paul and our main point: grace and love change the world and change lives. They have changed lives and will keep changing lives if we put it into practice.

So to discern how to put love into practice we ended by reading 1 Corinthians 13 with our name in place of the word love. Because Paul is really giving us a challenge for how to live, not just teaching on the abstracts of love. Paul is teaching us how we are to live. So as we read the passage we asked God to make it true in our lives, and direct us in anywhere we need to start acting differently.

[            ] is patient and kind. [            ]is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. [            ]does not demand its own way. [            ] is not irritable, and keeps no record of being wronged. [            ] does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. [            ] never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

(Read the passage slowly multiple times, and put your name in the blank, and let God speak to you through it)



Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Grace and love change the world and change lives

Teaching Points:

  • All truth is God’s truth.
  • Grace has the time to talk – Bono
  • When she goes to work / You can hear her strings – Bono
  • Love is the opposite of self-centeredness
  • She travels outside of karma – Bono
  • Grace and love change the world and change lives
  • Scripture interprets Scripture

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? What is your favorite U2 song? When you read the passage from God’s perspective what jumped out? When you read it with your name in blanks, how did God speak to you? What jumped out?

Discussion Questions for Young Families

Today talk to your kids about their favorite song. Ask them why they love it, and what they learn from it.

Challenge for the Week: To put love into practice

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