Updated: May 7, 2021
My Favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of Oz. I never read the books until fairly recently, but the film is etched in my memory, in part because of the switch between black and white segments (on our earth) and the dramatic color scenes (in Oz). Without the technology like today in 1939 it still is amazing to see the final outcome and how things were created. Even though The Wizard of Oz is not a Christian based movie, it has so much Christian points in it. We start with Dorothy, a young and meek girl from Kansas that lives on a farm with her uncle and aunt without a worry at all, yet still dreams of a place that she can go one day away from her home on earth. That’s where we as Christians come in, we are like Dorothy just waiting for our place in Heaven yet sometimes we have lost sight of taking care of others on earth first. Dorothy spends the center of the movie wanting to go home, after she has finally been to her dream place. She is sent on a long journey and is dealt with many trials. Along the way she befriends three companions, each with a glaring lack and desire (heart, brain, courage--which is strength of will). Mind, heart and will are the feature scopes of the human soul, with the fourth element, 'desires/wants' obviously present in each.
Dorothy is arguably in search for reconciliation with her "True Self" (home). Like the prodigal son, she left home, and the storm which shows her struggles and battles of life, does her in and knocks her out and all seems lost or dead. The storm transports the whole house to the mysterious land that she once dreamed of, killing one witch and making another quite angry. She first meets the good witch who gives her the ruby slippers. If the witches are seen as 'types' of angels and demons, the spiritual life is laid out before us in full array! Like Pilgrims Progress, Dorothy sets out on her journey to Oz, the place where she hopes to find her way home. At the end of the struggles with the wicked witch she eventually is able to melt her with water, think baptism. Dorothy comes before the throne of Oz. Reading Revelation I'm struck by some of the similarities between that scene and the movie. I have heard that the face of Oz on the chair is the director of the movie ('type' of God, the one outside the movie who creates the movie!). However, the throne of Oz is a sham, he is a man playing a God (using technology). His inability to save Dorothy will manifest those limits. When the Wizard of Oz, a FAKE of sorts, is uncovered, he makes every effort to do right by the four disappointed travelers. Tellingly, in each case, each person is informed that it is a lack of faith which has created the experience of understanding the truth. The props become a way for each one to discover that what they lack they already have! Brain, heart and courage are already possessed, but the scarecrow, tin man and lion needed some sign to believe it. In the movie, the Scarecrow was always the brains of the group, and the Tin Man an emotional softy and the lion showed courage because even though he was scared throughout the movie, he was able to keep moving forward while fear was in him. Jesus tells us to have no fear and that when trouble seems to come our way to rely on Him and keep moving forward following him and he will protect us.
When it was Dorothy’s time to leave, the “fake” wizard was not able to fulfill his promise to her in getting her home in the hot air balloon. We learn, when the good witch appears again that the way home had always been present with Dorothy when she says to her "click your heals and repeat, there is no place like home.” She does and soon we find her back home in bed (in Black and White). As the house is apparently no longer in Oz, we are left to wonder what really happened? In the spiritual life, we ask God for gifts. Some of us spend our whole life asking God to fill us with the Spirit. We wait for something amazing to happen, some supernatural sign that the gift has arrived. Well, what if the gift has already been given? What if we have been given the power and authority and we just need to use them? What if the Bible is true? what if the power is unlocked by true faith? Dorothy learned on her journey that there is no place like home. When she really believed it, she was open to being transported back home. It wasn't a slogan, it was a lived reality. The ministry of the church (proclaim, teach, heal, exorcise, reconcile) is our call and duty. Why would the Father give us such a mission if He hadn't also supplied the means to accomplish it? We have it already with the Gospel /Bible, yet we fail to use it, just like the ruby slippers. We need to believe God has already provided, because He has. The ministry of the church, said Jesus, would be to do greater things than Him. We have the mind, heart and courage of Christ, we need to believe and exercise them. We have the salvation and Good News already. If we open with true faith, we will see it manifest. Instead of asking God for help, what if we took Him at His word and acted like the apostles? Forgiving sins, rebuking demons, healing illness, bringing people into the life of God and saying that the Father's Kingdom is near (because we believed it) and that it is available for everyone? What if we loved like Dorothy loved with people that she thought had many flaws, what would the world end up being like? How would God respond? Would we be able to melt Satan in the eyes of this world? All of these things is what it means to be a faithful church and to always be doing the work of Jesus. On my journey in youth ministry for 20 years now and being a Christian, I see more signs and wonders (and more witches and flying monkeys!) and I am learning that God really means to be among us (Emmanuel) to save, heal, forgive and renew. I am also seeing that it is in and through human relationships that it takes place. Godly people fulfilling their purpose and not stopping until one day they return to their true home. Read the Word and believe it is true, today, and stop wandering around begging God to give you what He already gave you a long time ago.
Its time that you click your heals and declare in faith, "I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength!” Philippians 4:13