Bono, one of the world's most famous rock stars, laments that the Psalms are notably missing from Christian music and wants to inspire artists to reflect on the book as they create their work.
In a recent video series with David Taylor, a theology and culture professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, the lead singer of U2 said he recently engaged the Songs of Ascent, the section of 15 songs in Psalms 120–134. He broke them down into different categories as an exercise and said he was amazed at what he discovered.
In those selected Psalms one sees a "song of mercy, song peace, a song of hubris, a song of rage, a song of tears, a song of searching, a song of humility."
"Why is it in Christian music that I can't find them?" he asked, noting the utility of those Psalms.
"I think there are some trapped artists," he said, "and I'd like them to be un-trapped."
Taylor asked Bono for one good thing people who have no Christian faith or interest in the Bible can find should they happen to read the Psalms.
"Psalm 82 is a good start," Bono replied.
That Psalm's words about defending the poor and the orphan, rescuing them from the power of evil people, is not charity but justice, he said.
"Isn't it incredible that Jesus starts with His mission, the year of our Lord's favor, the year of Jubilee, He gives sight to the blind ... it's justice, it's not charity," he reiterated.
Several Psalms prophesy that the reason Jesus comes to the Earth is because the needy are oppressed, Bono said. And when Christ quotes Isaiah 61 in the Gospels, He sets out His manifesto for His ministry.
All art is by nature "prophetic," he added in the fourth installment with Taylor.
While acknowledging that what he was about to say might be controversial, Bono said that "if the job of the prophet is to describe the state of the soul, the soul of the city, if we want to know what's really going on ... you've got to really go look at the art."
"Go look at the art, go look at the graffiti, go listen to the hip-hop coming out of the ghetto blasters [boomboxes]. Some of it is strong stuff but it's honest. It's reflecting the real state of the soul."
Bono further mentioned that he only just started to realize "the only real problem that God can't deal with is the problem you don't know you have or if you're lying to cover up."
So even when art is made for the most of flippant reasons, he added, it's "revelatory" in that is gives pastors a window into what people really feel.
Pastors, he asserted, would do well to listen.
Bono further encouraged young artists to do what Jesus once did and "draw in the sand."
"I say this because it's my own aspiration to listen more, to be silent more. To both draw in the sand more and to look for the drawing in the sand more."
"I don't know why we don't know what Jesus wrote in the sand. It's telling that we don't know. The privacy of that moment is sort of rich. In a world where there is no privacy, that's rich moment."