A term used by “Alcoholic’s Anonymous” for the moment when an addict admit’s their helplessness, this was a song released by U2 in 2007.  If you listen closely to the song, you will run through the entire gauntlet of a scarred, terrifying life of one who has lost all, hit rock bottom, and is ready to surrender to God.

I wonder how many of us reach that point – a point where we look to Heaven and say “God, I cannot do it any more, I need you to take over the burden of this life for me”.  I have known people who hit rock-bottom, and still would not acknowledge they needed God to ease their pain.  Where do they go?

I have personally had a moment of deepest despair in my life, which affected every fiber of both mine and my wife’s being.  In that moment, I could choose to give up, or give it to God.  Now, my carnal self still fights with my spiritual surrender, and it temporarily wins a lot, but I did give it up to God because I knew no other way.  The accuser of this world knows how to attack each of us if we let him.

The Bible teaches each of us that we fight a spiritual war every day, most of the time within ourselves.  Our spiritual mind wants to do the right thing, yet our physical (carnal) side interferes.

I wonder if people truly understand that implication?

In these days, we are bombarded with lies and deception from the Joker himself (Satan), who is the King of Fools – deception about himself, and lies about our not needing God.  “Believe in Yourself” is a mantra that on quick observation seems poignant, but God tells us that we are all wicked and there is none good, not one.

So, when you become a Christian, it is not that you are better than anyone else; no, on the contrary, you realize, that you are WORSE because now you KNOW the right thing, and KNOW better what you should not do.  A Christian knows he (she) cannot do it on their own.  They have their “Moment of Surrender” many, many times throughout this sojourn of life.

It is absolutely astounding how, as creatures magnificently made, we can be so pitifully corrupted and corruptible!  God has given each of us a way out, and it is the one who has hit rock bottom, and cries out to His Holy Son who realizes he must be broken before the Rock.

The ruler of this world has no part in the One, who will recompense the damage done when the time comes…until then here is hoping that not one person more needlessly turns their body into a begging bowl, begging to get back to God…

Writing and recording of “Moment of Surrender” (from Wikipaedia)

A large, open Moroccan riad that is filled with dining tables and chairs. In the center of the room is a fountain shaped like a flower with eight petals. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling, which is supported by three columns at the back. A group of people eat a meal at the table closest to the columns.

My note:  As you read this short article, be amazed as I was with how many things seem to follow a divine presence in the recording of this song.  Or, do you believe in coincidence and not fate?

In 2007, U2, Brian Eno, and Daniel Lanois recorded “Moment of Surrender” in a Moroccan Riad similar to the one pictured.

“Moment of Surrender” was written by U2 and “No Line on the Horizon” producers/co-writers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois during a two-week recording session in Fez, Morocco between May and June 2007.  The song was developed within a few hours, and then recorded in a single take at a riadin Hotel Yacout.  Eno began by creating a percussion loop of a “rolling hand drum” so that the band would have something to improvise along with when they joined him for songwriting and recording.  However, Eno had not arranged the loop properly and the result was a strange, uneven beat that he compared to “a wheeled carriage that had one of the wheels a bit cracked” or “the way a camel moves”. Although Eno was trying to fix the loop, drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. began playing along to it.  Eno then asked guitarist The Edge to play some chords.  After a quick discussion about the chord changes and the meter (in which they decided to have a “funny layout” that was not based on “eighths or sixteenths”), the six of them improvised the entirety of the piece.

As they began to play, bassist Adam Clayton developed a bassline. The part was originally based on the Grandmaster Melle Mel song “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)” before Clayton changed to a more trance-like bassline.  Vocalist Bono created some melodies and sang over the music. During the album’s recording, Bono had become tired of writing in the first-person and he began writing lyrics and singing from the perspective of different characters.  During the writing of “Moment of Surrender”, Bono assumed the character of a drug addict having a crisis of faith.  The song title was borrowed from the Alcoholics Anonymous term for when an addict admits his or her helplessness.  Bono had attempted to use the phrase “vision over visibility” in the lyrics of earlier songs; however, “Moment of Surrender” was the first song where he felt it was appropriate to be used.  Eno called Bono’s singing in this character as “so heartbreaking agonized and vulnerable”, creating a feeling like “a knife to the heart”.  Lanois contributed by developing the gospel-like chorus.  The uneven hi-hat from the drum part stems from Mullen’s electronic drum kit malfunctioning during the song’s recordingEno was amazed by each performer’s ability to develop and play their part without any instructions or cues. After the song’s recording completed, everyone in the studio, including a gathering of production personnel and visitors, was completely silent, and Eno suggested it was as if they had gone on an “emotional adventure of some kind”.  He called the song’s recording “the most amazing studio experience I’ve ever had”, and he believes the “emotional crescendo” heard in the song properly captures how they felt as they improvised the piece. Bono stated “it was a spell and we were in it”.

The song was played only once and received minor treatments afterwards, with the addition of a cello part in the introduction and some editing, which included removing a verse to reduce the song’s length.  Eno was outraged that U2 wanted to shorten the song, and he was adamant that the band not alter the original track too much, saying, “These guys, they’re supposed to be so spiritual—they don’t spot a miracle when it hits them in the face. Nothing like that ever happened to me in the studio in my whole life.”  The band’s original concept for No Line on the Horizon was to create an album of future hymns—songs that would be played forever. According to Eno and Lanois, “Moment of Surrender” is the closest the band came to reaching that concept”


In the song (lyrics below), a drug addict talks about shooting up heroin (Horse) and how he was “Playing with the fire until the fire played with me”, a clear reference to demon’s coming in where a void has been created with drugs.  Next, the song talks about the day of his wedding, where the two of them were barely conscious, because they were too smart to realize how bad it was.

After the chorus, we see just how bad off a sinner’s life can get, when you “lose control” because you went to the altar of the dark star (Satan).  And when this person suddenly sees the reflection staring back, and cannot even recognize himself any more, we know he is close to the bottom.

In “Speeding on the subway through the stations of the cross”, he is strung out, shooting speed on the subway, suffering and dying (the stations of the cross), counting down till the pain would stop…maybe dying, maybe just overdosing…and all the while, no one acknowledges this person, divinely made and corruptly stained, but still worthy of redemption.  But God will, and the phrase “Vision over visibility” shows how God will come if you call on him, but you must present yourself as a penitent being.

Moment of Surrender (U2, 2007)

“I tied myself with wire
To let the horses roam free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me

The stone was semi-precious
We were barely conscious
Two souls too smart to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

At the moment of surrender
I folded to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the altar of the dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back, begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that yearns
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ’til the pain would stop
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me”

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