Arts, Music, News, Testimony
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Bono, U2, Billy Graham and Faith

U2 in concert in 2009 Image: Wikipedia/SteBo

U2 in concert in 2009 Image: Wikipedia/SteBo

Few of us realize the full impact Billy Graham had on the Kingdom of God. When attending Bible college, I met two identical twin brothers who went to their knees and accepted Christ watching a Billy Graham crusade on TV. Both men are in the ministry. The former pastor of the church I attend was saved through Billy Graham.

Now reports are suggesting that Bono, the lead singer for the mega rock group U2, accepted Christ because of Billy Graham’s influence.

This conclusion is a result of a poem that Bono wrote for Billy Graham. It suggests that as teenager, Bono became a Christian as a direct result of Graham’s influence.

The poem on display at the Billy Graham Library reads:

The journey from Father to friend
Is all paternal loves end
It was sung in my teenage ears
In the voice of a preacher
loudly soft on my tears
I would never forget this
Melody line
Or its lyric voice that gave my life
A Rhyme
a meaning that wasn’t there before
a child born in dung and straw
wish the Father’s love and desire to explain
how we might get on with each other again…

To the Rev Billy Graham (that preacher)
Ruth and all the Graham family
From Bono (March 11, 2002
With much love and respect

Bono wrote the poem shortly after he visited Billy Graham’s home in 2002. During the 1970s and 1980s, Billy Graham held a number of evangelistic rallies throughout the United Kingdom.

A bit of history

It has long been known U2’s music revealed a Christian message — picked up by secular and Christian alike. In his article, The Church of U2, published in The New Yorker writer Joshua Rothman discusses the faith of U2.

The band composed of Bono, David Evans, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton formed in Dublin, Ireland during the late 70s.  In high school, three of the band members (Bono, Evans and Mullen) became involved with a church called Shalom, described as a first-century Christians living on the streets of Dublin. You can see Shalom’s influence in two of U2’s  albums released at this time.

One song that stands out is “Gloria” which includes a Latin liturgy:

However, band member David Evans contemplated leaving U2 as he struggled to reconcile his faith with the band’s growing fame. He ultimately didn’t leave and the three band members eventually left Shalom. According to Bono, the group was demanding denial rather than “willful surrender.”

Though the group has not been as forthright about their faith as some would like — they have not overtly endorsed organized church — their expressions of faith are clear and according to some becoming increasingly prominent in their music.

Rothman writes:

“The story of U2 might be this: having begun as a band that was uncertain about the idea of pursing a life of faith through music, they have resolved that uncertainty. Their thin ecclesiology has become thick.”

U2′ faith on display in their music

There has been a Christian theme running through U2’s music from the start. At times, they are very forthright actually including scripture in their performance.

But like most music, the words are open to multiple interpretations, but when you throw faith into the mix, the words easily take on a Christian theme.  Some have even suggested that songs, like “I still haven’t found what I am looking for” could be classified as a hymn:

You can see the Christian message in another unusual song “Until the End of the World.” Which at the outset, seems almost confusing until you realize the song is written from Judas’ perspective. You can see the connection when the song is superimposed on images from the “Passion of Christ.”

The following is their interpretation of Psalm 40 where Bono sings:

I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry.
He brought me right out of the pit,
out of my miry clay.

Bono’s interview with Focus on the Family

In a 2013, Focus on the Family (FOF) interviewed Bono on his faith. In the interview, Bono spoke of a number of issues.

On Jesus:

FOF: So often those that struggle with accepting Jesus Christ as their savior … it’s the idea that he’s the Messiah. … How did you respond to that?

Bono: Jesus isn’t lettin’ you off the hook. The Scriptures don’t let you off the hook so easily. … When people say, you know, “Good teacher”, “Prophet”, “Really nice guy” … this is not how Jesus thought of Himself. So you’re left with a challenge in that, which is either Jesus was who he said he was or a complete and utter nut case. … You have to make a choice on that.

And I believe that Jesus was, you know, the Son of God. And I understand that … we need to be really, really respectful to people who find that ridiculous and … preposterous.

On King David:

FOF: That Scripture in Psalms that talks about God being close to the brokenhearted and saving those crushed in spirit—does that mean something to you?

Bono: First of all, David’s a musician, so I’m gonna like him. … And what’s so powerful about the Psalms are, as well as their being Gospel and songs of praise, they are also the Blues. It’s very important for Christians to be honest with God, which often, you know, God is much more interested in who you are than who you want to be.

U2 is a mega band which has influenced millions. Like the rest of us, they are imperfect, but clearly their faith has impacted both their message and life.

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  1. I believe Bono is a true social activist (in the purest form), faith in action! I love their version of PS. 40 too! I really enjoyed this post.


    • Thank you very much Linda. I have gained a new appreciation for Bono and U2 as a whole. It seems other members of the group are Christians as well.


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