Peace on earthTucked away in U2’s All That You Can”t Leave Behind album is this incredible bit of poetry:

Jesus this song you wrote
The words are sticking in my throat
Peace on Earth
Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won’t rhyme
So what’s it worth
Peace on earth
(“Peace on Earth” Lyrics: Bono–lead singer of the group U2)

It does take a little audacity to stand up this Christmas and declare that the Prince of Peace has come when they are still clearing away the debris in New York. And India and Pakistan are arming yet again. And the tit for tat killing and dying in Palestine continues. Etc., etc., bloody etc…

Indeed “hope and history don’t rhyme.” Peace on earth? The words stick in our throats. And in our hearts. Looking out at the world there seems little reason for hope. But maybe we’ve got it wrong. Maybe we were not meant to look to the world for hope. Maybe the world is meant to look to us for hope.

Turning from Bono to Saint Paul:

For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.
(Romans 8: 22-25 NLT)

The Prince of Peace has come. He has begun His reign of peace. But it is not a reign that is yet evident out in the world. For it is a reign that begins in the hearts of those who have chosen to follow the Prince of Peace. These are tough times. All the more we need to gird up our loins and wait “patiently and confidently”. The world is looking to us.

I suspect Mr Bono knows that. He subversively embeds much of his music with kingdom concerns. He fights for kingdom values in the world. (He has been particularly active in championing the cause of Third World debt relief.) The gospel may stick in his throat from time to time but Bono continues to fight the good fight. And so must we. Until that day when hope and history rhymes.