The day after Election Day, I gave thanks for "Airplane Mode."
As the airplane's cabin door closed, the flight attendant instructed us passengers to turn off our wireless signals. I tapped the button on my tablet that disconnected me from the news headlines about the USA's new president elect, the Facebook posts of glee, the tweets of disappointment, the blogs of hope, the op-eds of despair.
While emotions swirled on the ground, I rose with the clouds to watch the film Sing Street, written and directed by Irish filmmaker, John Carney, while in flight. I first became familiar with Carney through his film, Once, released nine years ago. Once told the story of a guy who meets a girl on the streets of Dublin. They are both musicians and share a dream of recording a CD of original music. Sing Street tells the story of a teenage boy who meets a teenage girl on the streets of Dublin in the 1980s. He forms a band to impress her, and they share a dream of making a music video.
Love, music, and dreams: what better trio would I find on a day of madness?
Sing Street opens with its own share of conflict. Sixteen-year-old Conor strums a guitar as his parents yell at each other from another room. They call him into a family meeting with his two older siblings. They inform him that he will go to a new school on Synge Street in order to save money.
Conor's first day of school is a nightmare: a bully in the bathroom, a reprimand for wearing the wrong shoe color, a shove in the classroom. Yet Conor goes back the next day. He meets a new friend. He sees a girl standing across the street. He tells the girl that he's forming a band and needs a model for their music video. The girl seems interested.
From the moment the girl smiles at him, Conor has a purpose. He assembles a band, and they start writing their own songs. They have found a focus in their music. The dream of making a music video turns into the dream of getting out of Dublin. The dream of impressing the girl becomes the dream of the girl loving him in return. The more effort they put into their music, the wilder their dreams become.
All the while, the headmaster forces Conor to walk without shoes since his are the "wrong" color. The bully taunts him. His parents fight.
Conor's older brother, Brendan, who also loves music, encourages Conor to pursue the dreams that he left behind years earlier. Brendan tells his younger brother, "You get to follow the path that I macheted through the jungle that is our mad family."
Our mad family. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, don't many of us anticipate a "mad family" around the dinner table?
In the aftermath of a contentious presidential election, aren't many of us mad at the outcome?
There is a lot of madness in our broken earth. Yet we can pave streets of song with our dreams.
The prophet, Joel, lived during a time of a locust plague. Panic and fear and destruction --and of course, madness--were the norm of his day. Above the people's weary cries, the voice of the Lord spoke through him that better days were ahead. The Spirit of the Lord was still with God's people. Old and young would see visions of a better day. Joel's message was one of hope.
Like Conor, let us not give up on hope.
Let us be willing to be prophets like Joel who sing and speak truth.
Let us not become mired in the madness of today but focus on the mad dreams that help us rise from the ashes and into the marvelous light of our Lord Jesus Christ.
all good things to each of you,