Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Friday, July 15, 2005

Pieces of April

The other night I saw a vision of what the fulfilled Kingdom of God might look like. No, it didn’t involve people suddenly disappearing out of thin air, or witnessing individuals getting thrown into the burning lake of fire. This vision didn’t come from a midnight’s summer dream, or solemn meditative state in a far off monastery. Rather it came from the last hour of a movie my wife and I watched on the television.

Around 9 each night we relax from housework, reading, writing papers, and take the time to rest in each other’s presence. For some reason we get a movie channel with our cheap basic cable, leaving us curious as to what movie will be on when we turn to that particular station. That night we started watching a movie called Pieces of April. Now we started in the middle of the picture so all previous characters or plot or storyline were unbeknownst to us. Typically, I don’t enjoy watching a film from the middle till the end. It’s like the guilty pleasure of reading the last few chapters of a large novel or entering in the wrap tunnel on Super Mario Brothers. But there was something different about this movie that made my wife and I captivated by the kooky characters and their environment, not to mention the filmmakers use of HD filming to add to the tone of the story.

Without giving too much away, April Burns (Katie Holmes) invites her dysfunctional family to Thanksgiving dinner at her minuscule apartment on New York's Lower East Side. As they make their way to the city from suburban Pennsylvania, April must endure a comedy of errors - like finding out her oven doesn't work - in order to pull off the big event. Even though the family is quite fearful of meeting their deranged daughter for the holiday feast, they end up arriving along with some unexpected guests. The guest list includes April’s Chinese neighbors that don’t speak English, April’s African American boyfriend (Derek) who has a bloody lip from a fight with a white gangster (April’s ex-boyfriend), and two motorcycle riders that gave half of the Burns family a ride out to the East Side of NY.

Before the credits role, we witness a host that is at wits end knowing nothing about how to prepare a simple meal, much less a Thanksgiving meal. But what struck me was that these diverse people, some meeting each other for the first time, ate a meal together in a small shabby apartment in the poor urban district of New York. Reconciliation came to the Burns family as they posed for a family Christmas card in the drab lighting of their great feast. So how does this envision the Kingdom of God? Well, maybe this was a modern day parable of the wedding feast that Jesus spoke of.