Monday, July 25, 2011

Bono, the blind man, and the 2nd commandment

We are going through the 10 Commandments at church, and I've been fortunate enough to have spoken on the first four of them. It's been an incredible time and a really amazing series.

Last week I saw a sweet video of U2's recent concert in Nashville that reminded me of the power behind the 2nd commandment.

The 2nd command is as follows: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Exodus 20:4

The heart of the 2nd command is really twofold. First, we can’t make God. The creator can't be created; the ones that He made can't make Him.  God doesn't want us to think we can craft Him, nor can we contain Him within something we have fashioned.  Second, this command has to do with God's image. Gen 1:26 states that we are created in His image, in His likeness. We are His image bearers; we show the world what God is like. Not what He is like physically, but we depict His character and what He is capable of. This is huge.

Genesis 1 is the first glimpse we get of God's character and what He's capable of. It's obvious from this first chapter of the Bible that God is all about making things. It's all over the place. He made the day and night (time), he made the land and the sky, he filled these things with other stuff he made: plants, animals, sun and stars.  Each creation shows His character: He is only, He is powerful, He is provider, He is beautiful, He is wise, He is sovereign, etc. What He makes shows who He is and what He is capable of.

Take this back to the 2nd commandment. We are commanded to never make a depiction of God; we are not to make little images of Him. Why? Because He has already made us in His image! He wants all eyes on Him, and He has entrusted us to be walking visualizations of His character and capabilities.  Basically, the 2nd command tells us: don't make distractions. Don't make things that will cause you or others to focus on something other than God.

However, we can’t just focus on the don’t of this command, because behind every don’t is a do

When told to avoid doing something, we have to ask what we should in turn be actively doing. Just because the 2nd command tells us not to make idols doesn’t mean we can’t make anything else! As God’s image bearers, we are to show the world what He is like, and He is a God who makes stuff (amongst other things).

The flipside of not making distractions away from God is that we are to make opportunities for people to see God! The power of the 2nd commandment is that God is telling us to create opportunities for people to see who He is and what He is capable of.

This was a really big clarification for me. Out of the 10 commandments, the 2nd one always seemed irrelevant.  I get taking Sabbath, not killing or stealing, and the others; but don’t make little statues of God? That is actually going to be a problem?  When I realized though the deep relevance and significance of what is actually being communicated, the second command is incredibly empowering.  God is saying to His peeps, “I’ve entrusted you to show the rest of the world what I’m like. Make opportunities for that to happen. Don’t mess it up by making things that will be distracting.”

I was mulling this over when I came across the above mentioned video of a recent U2 performance. It shows the band concluding their concert in Nashville a couple weeks ago. You can watch everything in the video, but basically, Bono brought a fan who is blind up on stage. The man wanted to perform the song, "All I want is you," for his wife. Bono let the guy play his guitar, and then sang the lyrics for him.  It's just Bono singing along at first, but then the whole band comes out and joins them!!!

This is just another reason why I love U2! Talking about the memory of a lifetime! In the comments section of the Rolling Stone article people who were at the show talk about how phenomenal it was to experience.  Can you imagine being there? Being that guy?

I'm watching the video and thinking to myself, "Bono just created the most unforgettable moment." Bono saw the guy, saw the opportunity to create something special, and he took it.  The guy had the moment of a lifetime, but the whole audience were also participants. 

Bono created an opportunity for people to see something special.

In that moment he also created a chance for people to see grace, love, care, a giving spirit, and a celebration of the couple's love.

All God stuff. 

We are commanded to created opportunities just like that.  We are commanded to create moments where people can see God.

More than likely those moments won't be witnessed by thousands, but that's not important anyway. 

It may just be you and a family member, or you and your neighbor, or you and a stranger. Regardless of who the audience is, your actions are an opportunity in time where someone can see what God is like.

Don't waste those moments.

Don't create distractions.

What special moments can you create?  

Who can you show God to?

1 comment:

David said...

Great read, Bobby.