Need a summer movie rental (for mature audience)? As It Is In Heaven, a Swedish film nominated for Best Foreign Film Hollywood Awards available from Netflix, is incredibly thought provoking. It is a compelling story about how to really love your neighbors. It is also a testament to the power of music to transform a entire community. And how can you speak about love without inclusion!
Tore is a young man experiencing developmental disability in the film. Some in the community call him a “cuckoo” others accept, comfort, shepherd, even learn from him. The filmmakers realistically depict the interdependence model Kathie Snow extrapolates here in her Disability Is Natural newsletter. As God would have it here on earth, Tore is not the only one with special needs who needs a little help now and then.
Despite his innocence, he is wise to tension often sensing what others miss or ignore. This closing scene is meant to intrigue not to spoil. (If you want the preview instead click here.) As the town choir takes the stage at a choral competition without their conductor, Tore takes an unplanned leadership role. The result weaves together several threads of the movie.
Life is not about being able. It is not about achievement. It is not about winning. Redemption is messy and beautiful. It requires vulnerability and courage. In some measure, both require finding your own voice and joining a chorus of others.
God has a will and a purpose in each of our lives. The conductor in the movie states his calling early in life: to open people’s hearts with music. A tutor of Reid’s asked me recently, “What is yours?” I hemmed and hawed awkwardly, having just met her after all. “Go ahead,” she urged, “there’s no one listening, just you and me, what is it?”
She was unrelenting as I stuttered in embarrassment and false pride. I choked out what was pounding in my chest but had never been articulated: to convince people that there is always hope. I was grateful for her insistence last night as Reid and I lounged in the hot tub. Out of the blue he blurted, “Mom, what’s your destiny?” I had an answer!
Then I turned the question on him he shot back, “to sing.”
This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their sins,
your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6