happy 100th post to me: prophetic experience

I’ve been hanging around, not quite posting, wanting to offer a premium blog post for my 100th one. I’m not sure how premium this is–no poetry, no prose, no preaching study, no shameless promotion of my book discussion site…which may up the value for some of you…

So, I’ll offer something that’s been in my head recently. I was listening to U2’s Joshua Tree CD in my car for a few weeks and got to thinking about the impact of the song “Bullet the Blue Sky.” I first heard it on the Rattle and Hum cd, which includes an extended version of the spoken stuff at the end. Whenever I listen to either version, I get a kind of rush and chills at the same time. Hearing that song, particularly the live version, is my earliest memory of an experience with the prophetic. The way Bono emotionally rips into the lyrics at the end really moves me.

Anybody else? First time you experienced something you would describe as having prophetic power?

Below are the lyrics for Bullet the Blue Sky:

In the howling wind comes a stinging rain
See it driving nails
Into the souls on the tree of pain
From the firefly, a red orange glow
See the face of fear
Running scared in the valley below
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue Bullet the blue
In the locust wind comes a rattle and hum
Jacob wrestled the angel
And the angel was overcome
You plant a demon seed
You raise a flower of fire
See them burning crosses
See the flames higher and higher
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue Bullet the blue

This guy comes up to me
His face red like a rose on a thorn bush
Like all the colors of a royal flush
And he’s peeling off those dollar bills
Slapping them down One hundred, two hundred
And I can see those fighter planes
And I can see those fighter planes
Across the mud huts where the children sleep
Through the alleys of a quiet city street
You take the staircase to the first floor
Turn the key and slowly unlock the door
As a man breathes into a saxophone
And through the walls you hear the city groan
Outside is America Outside is America

Rattle & Hum version continues:
So I’m back in my hotel room with Johnnie Coltrane and the love supreme. In the next room I hear some woman scream out that her lover’s turning off turning on the television. And I can’t tell the difference between ABC news, Hill Street Blues and a preacher on the old time gospel hour stealing money from the sick and the old. Well the God I believe in isn’t short of cash, mister. I feel a long way from the hills of San Salvador where the sky is ripped open and the rain pours through a gaping wound pelting the women and children…pelting the women and children…who run …who run…into the arms…of America

Joshua Tree version continues:
Across the field you see the sky ripped open
See the rain through a gaping wound
Pounding on the women and children
Who run Into the arms Of America

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8 thoughts on “happy 100th post to me: prophetic experience

  1. Hang with me here. American Pie (the Don McLean song, not the movie) gave me the first prophetic rush of adrenaline. I had no idea that’s what it was. However, the intense lament of past experience combined with the incredible sense of loss reminds me of reading Hosea or Amos. I know that sounds ridiculous. But, even the continuous refrain of “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie, drove the chevy to the levy, but the levy was dry” seems to haunt, as if we are doomed to be stuck in the same chorus because of past experience.

    I know, they should never have let me be a pastor.

  2. those are some great lyrics…i had never thought about them before

    that’s funny you mention that album being prophetic to you… rob bell has a chapter in his book about the “kavod” of god…the idea that truth is available everywhere and that all of creation is drenched in the presence of god…. and he mentions the first time he was overwhelmed with that presence, and it was at a U2 show when they were touring with the joshua tree….just like you!

    :)

  3. Thanks, all.

    Brian, I hear you on McLean’s American Pie. Also, the way he pulls together so many cultural references (and biblical too: “in there we were all in one place…”) to weave a unified narrative tapestry–placing it all in context and showing us new connections. Definitely within the prophetic tradition…

  4. I love this; my first prophetic experience was to Bob Marley and the wailers “No woman no cry” sitting in a bar homeless etc.. and hearing the refrain on the live version. “everythings gonna be alright” I was a bit stoned but sure it was the voice of God.

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