Bono & Karl Barth

As I continued my Lenten reading last night in Karl Barth’s Romerbrief, I lighted upon a passage that spoke to me in an interesting way:

“Fugitive is the soul in this world and soulless is the world, when men do not find themselves within the sphere of the knowledge of the unknown God, when they avoid the true God in whom they and the world must lost themselves in order that they may both find themselves again.

This is the Cause of the Night in which we are wandering: this is also the Cause of the Wrath of God which has been manifested over our heads.”

Barth’s words resonated with my own understanding of a world deeply caught in night–as violence in Syria and bloodshed in Ohio remind us even today.  Issues of lostness and soullessness and darkness pervade our existence, and only in God’s Light may we find our way out.

I also liked his words because they reminded me of one of my other favorite theologians: Bono of U2.  In their seminal album Achtung Baby the band has a track called “Ultraviolet (Light My Way).”  Almost psalmically, Bono implores “Baby, baby, baby light my way”:

And the day is as dark as the night is long
Feel like trash, you make me feel clean
I’m in the black, can’t see or be seen

my favorite lyric, however (and perhaps my favorite line of all time) is the crescendo he hits right here:

When I was all messed up
And I had opera in my head
Your love was a light bulb
Hanging over my bed

I don’t know if Bono intended the meaning I draw from this song, but I’ll take it anyway.  Powerful stuff.  This on the same album, of course, where Bono earlier claims “It’s no secret that the stars are falling from the sky/It’s no secret that our world is in darkness tonight” before baldly stating that “The universe exploded ’cause of one man’s lie.”

Thankfully, one Man’s Truth has provided the way back from the depths of our shared night.