Film Friday: If Beale Street Could Talk

When Fonny and Tish meet and fall in love it is not long before they have a baby on the way. Life is not easy for them though, and when they start looking for a place of their own they are turned down time and again. Then Fonny finds a possible place in an empty loft. A kind of work in progress… a place which needs a lot of work.

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At first Fonny can see what Tish cannot… the possibilities. The future. He can see a living space with a kitchen and a bedroom and a lounge. And by acting it out he brings her into his vision. Broadens her horizons and shows her what might be.

The book of Hebrews describes faith as the assurance that what we hope for is going to happen, the evidence of things we cannot yet see. (Hebrews 11 v 1) Fonny’s actions here sum this up perfectly. He believes that this draughty loft space can be their home. A place to raise their child. And he shows Tish what that means. The prophets in the Bible often saw what others could not, and they spoke it out and lived lives which demonstrated their faith. Ezekiel was a pass master at this. He built models, knocked a hole in the wall of his house, acted out stories, shaved his head and even handled cow dung… all to bring the people a vision of the things God was telling him.

John the Baptist saw mountains levelled and corruption destroyed, and when he spotted his cousin passing by one day he saw the Messiah coming. It surprised even him, but he passed on the vision God had revealed to him. (John 1 v 29-31) Likewise, later, when the penny dropped for fisherman Peter, Jesus told him that this vision had been given to him by God, and Peter then went on to live out and pass on what he had seen. We live with one foot in the muddle of the world that is and one foot in a God-offered vision of what might be, of how life could be different. The now and the not yet. It’s often demanding and tiring and we lose faith some days. But every little thing we do to demonstrate God’s ways, God’s hopeful future, counts. Jesus held up a glass of water as an example. (Matthew 25 v 31-40) When we offer another person a drink in his name, we are honouring him. When we bring the smallest gift, a smile, an encouragement, a moment of respect, we are pointing people to the hope God is offering, the hope of a better future and a renewed world.

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