Come All Ye Faithful; Bring Your Bible, Hymn Book... and U2

|PIC1|I sit on the sofa, listening to U2's "If God will Send His Angels", not because I am Bono's #1 fan but because I want to hear what is captivating the churches lately: the "U2charist".

The U2charist is a form of service that swaps hymns with U2's popular songs like "Beautiful Day" and "Mysterious Ways", all of which contain spiritual content that point arrows to God. And it's actually becoming a big hit in churches worldwide.

When I first heard that U2 songs were being sung in churches, it struck me as a rather curious and yet nonetheless attractive and novel prospect. My immediate thoughts were "of course" , "finally" . I always thought the church needed something more radical to draw in fresh congregants - as the world itself becomes increasingly radical.

Don't get me wrong - I like traditional hymns. But I do think that it is important that modern worship needs modern songs that fit the, well, rather unique generation that we face today. Nor should we be content in singing hymns simply because they are traditional. We need songs that will spark the desire of the congregation to participate and freely sing along - the moment of which is the outworking of a heart finally opening up of its own accord to praise God.

What's becoming increasingly popular these days is the concept of "being real". No wonder more and more reality TV shows are emerging. People want to feel
real, act real, think real, and get things the real way.

A while ago, I asked several Christians why they didn't attend church. The number one answer I got goes something like this: "I don't go because the life I live in church and the life I live outside of church are so different." So they don't feel real. And they feel bad.

Bingo. No one wants to be dubbed a hypocrite.

In church, people sing hymns. Of course they do. It's a 'church thing'. Churches and hymns. Most likely, people who are passionate about punk rock and reggae music won't really want to join the serene Sunday church scene.

The challenge that the U2charist is giving is this: 'You like rock songs? Why not sing it at church?' Now the church is willing to bring that flavour in and worship God with something that is closer to the hearts of many congregants: mainstream rock music. It's risky - but in the right conditions it works.

Everything needs to have a 'bridge'. It's true - the gap between the world we live in and the lives we live in church are so huge that many are drawing away from church. If they could implement even a tiny little piece of what they experience outside the walls of church into the services, I would say: hey, that's not a bad start.