Take These Hands

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist, no
Take this mouth
So quick to criticize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss
Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before the child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still, I’m waiting for the dawn
U2 – Yahweh
U2 have become one of my favorite bands over the last decade or so. The lyrics I quoted above are from one of my favorite songs. Yahweh is the last track on their 2004 album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. There seems to be a divide among many fans as to which era of the band is the best. I guess that happens with any group that manages to survive and remain popular for multiple decades. There are some fans (I am one of them) who feel that with a few exceptions U2 have consistently produced quality music. I do have my favorite songs and albums but I can find something I really like on every album they have released. It just so happens that this particular album is near the top of my list with some of their older, classic stuff.
One of the reasons this song (and the album it’s from) resonates with me is the spiritual content. I have written before about the Christian themes that Bono and company explore in their music. Some songs are blatantly “Christian” and others are more ambiguous. Yahweh is one that you don’t have to go digging through to see the message. I think it is a Gospel message that is sadly missing from many artists who openly identify as Christian. It is a message that we need to hear.
These lyrics echo what Jesus was teaching during his “Sermon On The Mount” in the book of Matthew. Matthew 5:9 says that those who “work for peace” will be called “children of God” and will be blessed because of it. Consider his words in Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT).

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

 

Jesus taught that we are supposed to be in this world making a difference. We are supposed to be making this world a better place for his sake. When I sing Bono’s lyrics I can’t help but imagine Jesus smiling and nodding along. One of my favorite quotes is  often attributed (erroneously I might add) to Francis of Assisi. No one knows who it originated with but it sums up a key element of the teachings of Jesus.

Lord, make me an instrument of  Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

That is the opening line to a much longer prayer that goes like this:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

It is still commonly referred to as the Prayer of Saint Francis even though no one believes that he was the author. That doesn’t rob it of its truth or its effectiveness. It is still a prayer that I strive to not only pray but live out in my everyday life. As I have been adjusting to this job at Walmart I am quickly learning that it is going to give me unlimited opportunities to live out the lyrics to this song, the words of Christ, and the musings of whoever wrote the prayer I shared.

Lord, take my hands. Lord, take my mouth. Amen

Grace and peace.

 

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