Inspired by John Speight's analogy during a recent sermon, I will be dividing the yellow-brick road into the significant parts of our spiritual journey.
Background: There is one memory of my life in Kinzers that is perhaps vivid and colorful than any other. The Wizard of Oz! It was before we had a VCR - they were relatively new in the United States, but not in everyone's home yet - and they only played it ONE time a year! Just like the Christmas shows Frosty and Rudolph. Since there wasn't a way to record them or even watch shows and movies any time we wanted to, watching The Wizard of Oz was a momentous occasion, a rite of passage, that for one single time each year it graced our television sets and put a young boy's imagination into a whirlwind all his own. It was the one of very few nights during the year that I stayed up late. One year I remember snacking on pumpkin seeds so I'm guessing it aired in the fall. I also remember the commercials were painstaking especially during the scene where Dorothy was watching the sand of the hour glass dwindle and drop to the bottom. I got worried every time. No matter how many times I had watched it, I didn't know whether or not she would make it alive.
Let's meet the other characters in black and white. When Dorothy runs away, she does so with fear of her joy being stripped away. This is a very fragile state she enters into - or we enter into. When not spiritually sound or mature, we make rash decisions based on only what we think is right. Often times we neglect council of those that are wiser than us. Let's be clear here...council doesn't mean the so-called wiser one is right. Hence all of the legalism that is wrongfully taught and carelessly and weakly believed. I don't mean followers of this lie are weak in their beliefs - sadly it's quite the opposite. They're firm in it. It's just not the truth. We tend to believe the first thing that's told us. Think about your opinions on certain things for a moment. How did you come to value such opinions? Was it because of your college professor? So, just because your teacher/professor says something, that means it's true? What about your pastor? The same thing happens. This is why your yellow-brick road must be land-marked by churches that teach grace, not law.
Upon running away, Dorothy, meets a fortune teller. A man who has no skill in reading the past, present or future, but Dorothy is putting all her faith into this man who builds his life with lies. The good thing about this is that I believe this man that hides behind a curtain of truth is trying to convince young Dorothy to go back home. It can also be good in our own spiritual walks. Often times we must encounter degrees of evil in the world (i.e. assault, dishonesty etc.) in order for us to realize that we need a higher power in our lives. Without Christ, we become a believer of lies. Sometimes those lies are what we tell ourselves. Without a network of spiritual friends, we are prone to succumb to the negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves. Remember Pretty Woman? Vivian at one point said, "the bad things are easier to believe." Without the constant feeding of Christ's teachings and the fellowship of believers, we believe the lies we tell ourselves and that's exactly what the Enemy wants us to do. The Enemy wants us to drop our spiritual fruits like their torn and battered luggage and run far away from home.
I got ahead of myself a little. How can I forget the first song of our journey? Dorothy sings, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, knowing, but more so hoping that's there's something better. We sing our rainbow song when we're going through a storm and we feel we just can't do it. We feel it's a hopeless situation that will bring forth no good results. This is the mindset of someone living in the black and white world. Someone that is yet to discover the power behind the yellow brick road. Dorothy is showing us something here that I want you to realize. She hasn't physically begun her walk, but she's showing signs of maturity. Showing signs that if the yellow-brick road were to appear right then and there, she'd take it. Not all of us are blessed to grow up in a spiritual environment that shows us and teaches us about the brick-road. But I believe no matter the situation, somewhere or somehow, there's a tug that's telling you which direction to go. It's amazing the excuses (the lies) we tell ourselves for not listening to that calling.
...to be continued