Thursday, March 12, 2009

White as Snow

This new U2 album is beautiful.  I can't believe how wonderful the song White As Snow is.  U2's website describes this song about the dying soldier as he reflects over his life.  It isn't at all a typical U2 song.  Bono sings differently; it's quiet and reflective; and the melody line is based on the Christmas staple Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel. I think that is significant because the Christ imagery in the song is obvious to me.

Throughout the song there is reference to the lamb that is white as snow.  There is a talk of a divine love and a need for forgiveness.  Of course, the subject has strayed form that love and found a loss of forgiveness, but there seems to be a longing to get back to that lamb.
Once I knew there was a love divine
Then came a time I thought it knew me not
Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not
Only the lamb as white as snow
Interestingly, it seems that the death scene is also a scene of life and baptism, all be it, an unpleasant one.
And the water, it was icy
As it washed over me
I get the feeling that the mortally wounded soldier has found the lamb and now reflects on the state of people. I feel that all people are looking for the lamb. Some to become white as snow, but most to devourer it.  This sentiment comes in the last verse where he closes the song by wishing that everyone could be white as snow.

As boys we would go hunting in the woods
To sleep the night shooting out the stars
Now the wolves are every passing stranger
Every face we cannot know
If only a heart could be as white as snow
If only a heart could be as white as snow
In many ways I think the band reveal a new discovery in this song.  They've long included anti-war sentiments in their music, and this song continues those sentiments.  Now they demonstrate the humanness of the fighting man and the burning desire of the soldier not to kill his enemy, but to see his enemy turn holy--A longing that all men and women would seek peace.

Of course, that peace can only come with the return of Emmanuel. Come Emmanuel!