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Dave Vanderveen

Listening to U2

“What if God is even greater than we think? We can have God neatly wrapped up in our heads and then, all of a sudden, he will have a little shaft of light and we will see things as we’ve never seen them before, even the familiar things.” Jack Heaslip, U2’s chaplain.



Jack Heaslip, the chaplain for the rock band U2, delivered the homily at Little Church by the Sea in Laguna Beach two Sundays ago and talked about the liberation of God’s secret plan for everybody—outsiders and insiders, we’re all included. That story was evident in a brief discussion with Bono at last Saturday’s show as well.

While U2 was in Southern California for their 360 Degree Tour, Jack visited local authors Cathleen Falsani and Maurice Possley, both friends of the band. He made time for a cozy dinner in the upper room at the Beach House restaurant and encouraged congregants to be “liberated anew” and be as inclusive as God’s plan, include everyone.

Falsani got some extra backstage passes and tickets that enabled our family to enjoy a VIP U2 experience, including meeting Bono both nights.

The Angels Stadium concerts were dramatic: great music, spectacular audio-video, lights, fog, and a spider-like structure that looked like a giant claw, or a cathedral, that stood over the field. It all delivered a sensory overload that connected the audience to the causes of ONE.org, Amnesty International and even the International Space Station astronauts.

Two things struck me deeply Saturday night and it wasn’t during the show.

The first shaft of light was the humility and grace that Bono, the band, and their chaplain display when no one’s watching, when it’s just you and them. Bono takes listening seriously. He looks right in your eyes (through his shades) and looks into your soul. He’s focused on you and listening to what you have to say. He leaves the distinct impression that he cares about you.

Secondly, Bono strongly suggested that we go up into the upper seats to see the show. The cosmic cathedral is built to deliver the best audio and visual experience to those the furthest away; the least expensive tickets get the best music and light.

Jack Heaslip and U2 left more than they took last week. They reminded me to look for little shafts of light that liberate truth and that the secret plan is about including everybody.

David Vanderveen is a Laguna Beach resident, husband, father and energy drink entrepreneur. His email is [email protected].

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