In case you haven’t heard, Bono was invited to give the speech at the National Day of Prayer breakfast. This was one speech which I was eager to read. He delivered a great message, and I think many of us resonate with it. If you would like to read the whole speech, visit Sojourners here. There might be a free registration required, which is not a big deal.
Here’s some excerpts from different parts of his speech:
“Yes, it’s odd, having a rock star here – but maybe it’s odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line. Where the line between church and state was…well, a little blurry, and hard to see.
I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays… and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God.
Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives.
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.
It’s not a coincidence that in the scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It’s not an accident.
And finally, it’s not about charity after all, is it? It’s about justice…..And that’s too bad. Because you’re good at charity. Americans, like the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can’t afford it. But justice is a higher standard.”