No Air Conditioner Too Heavy

Jim Sheridan's 2002 film, In America, tells the story of an Irish family that has immigrated to the United States in the 1980s. The parents and their two young daughters have little money and move into a rundown apartment in New York City. Even as they struggle, the parents intentionally work to create a fun life for the two little girls. They go to a movie theater. They attend a street fair. They make a home out of what they have.

As summertime progresses and the temperatures rise, the family swelters in the heat of their apartment, and the dad, Johnny, makes up his mind to find an air conditioner. He scrounges together money to buy a window unit, then he has to carry it up six flights of stairs. When Johnny finally reaches his destination, he angrily realizes that the plug of the unit won't fit in their electrical outlets. He descends the stairs again to purchase the correct plug, only to discover that he is 25 cents short. He climbs the stairs again to gather glass bottles to sell. He descends the stairs to sell the bottles for the remaining quarter and to buy the plug. Again, he ascends multiple steps with the new plug. Finally, with the new plug in place and the unit installed, cool air fills the apartment. The little girls dance in front of the breeze, and at last Johnny's shoulders relax. He smiles as his family rejoices. We, the audience, are exhausted and frustrated with Johnny. We have gone up and down with him. We've felt his burden. But in the end, his satisfaction comes from the rejoicing of his children. He has gone to great trouble for their comfort, and their gratitude is all the payment that he needs.

God goes to great lengths to comfort each of us as well. Johnny is one example of an earthly father who offers us insight to God as the heavenly Father. God's desire is that all of us be at peace in body, soul, and spirit. When God answers our requests and delivers to us what we need, our reaction should be that of Johnny's daughter: gratitude that overtakes our whole being with dancing and rejoicing. Johnny valued his daughters so much that he endured pain, embarrassment, and frustration to ensure their well-being. In the same way, God values us and reaches out to us through the loving action of Christ our Lord.

Some of us may have difficulty relating to God as Father because of bad experiences with our earthly fathers. Thankfully, there are many ways to envision God and to relate to God. But let us hold before ourselves today this beautiful image of a God whose sole interest is not just the well-being of children but also the comfortableness of those children. Be at peace with the Heavenly Father, and join in the dance of rejoicing of what God is willing to do for us out of love and compassion.

grace, peace, love, and all good stuff to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* "In America," Fox Movies, 2003