[Photo: Dan Hardesty (The Last Bison), Drew Shirley (Switchfoot) and Jack Heaslip spend time together at a Wedgwood Artists' Retreat]By Mark Rodgers
Over the years I got to know Jack Heaslip, and a taste of the wisdom that he shared with his "boys" ... the members of U2.
-I first met Jack in 2001 when U2 was performing in Washington, DC, and he joined me to hear Os Guinness give a talk at the White House. In what I came to appreciate was his way, he appeared nonplussed. Although he was the band's "pastor", what made him dispassionate, I think, was a keen sense of The Weight of Glory, as C. S. Lewis called it. He didn't overvalue or undervalue people based on their perceived weight, he tried to see them for their inherent worth.
We got to spend some time together that week while the band was in town, but met again a few months later at another show where I stood with him on the floor, back to the stage. He was taking the crowd's spiritual temperature, and praying for them. I learned later that he would pray over the seats of the venues the day of the concert. These people mattered as much to him as "the boys."
C. S. Lewis said in The Weight of Glory: “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
There are several worthwhile tributes to Jack, but let me comment on two: This one on atu2.com and my friend Steve Garber's reflection.But none of the reflections are better than hearing from Jack himself (captured in audio and posted on YouTube) valuing not just the band, but every worker involved in the tour.
Again, C. S. Lewis: “It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken."
I kept in touch with Jack. On the tours I would get a handshake, maybe a hug, and a small smile. Between the tours an email, a book in the mail and occasionally a Skype call.Two years ago Jack joined us at a Wedgwood Circle event to share his thoughts about being "in the world but not of it." He stayed through the weekend with a small group of artists to pour into them what he had poured into U2 ... the Weight of Glory: “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them,and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
C.S. "Jack" Lewis, make sure you greet Jack Heaslip. Give him a hug and smile for me. And tell him ALL his boys miss him. And a few of his girls as well.