June 24, 2018

Another Look: Show Me the Way to Go Home

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

• Galatians 3:2-4, MSG

• • •

One day Dorothy and Toto found themselves in a wondrous world — not in Kansas anymore! for sure. You might say they arrived there by grace alone. In the midst of their mostly tranquil but unsatisfying life, a life that had prompted Dorothy to dream of a better world “over the rainbow,” they found that land through a power greater than themselves. A twister blew off the plains, picked them up and twirled them ’round, and set them done in a new realm. Sepia tones turned to technicolor, drab became dynamic: everything was new.

For the first time in her life, Dorothy felt alive. However, also for the first time, she knew that her ultimate dream was to find home. How could she find her way home?

Dorothy received a simple answer: “Follow the yellow brick road.” And, looking up, she beheld a clear path of golden bricks winding around and leading off into the distance. This road, she was promised, would take her to the city of Oz, where she would meet the powerful Wizard. He would give her the answer. He would show her the way to go home.

The advice she got, of course, proved inadequate. Following the yellow brick road made things worse and ultimately left her stranded and still wondering how she would ever get home.

It must be admitted that Dorothy found blessings and learned lessons along the way. She found friends as needy as she, who joined her on the quest to find answers at the end of the road. She also found danger and difficulty. Various troubles and obstacles hindered and threatened the journey. In confronting them, this humble farm girl discovered hidden resources within herself, as well as the reassurance and security that comes from having loyal companions to help you fight your battles. Dorothy also learned that the world has its charlatans, who, despite their public reputations, are little more than pathetic imposters. They influence others through the power of suggestion and manipulation. They know how to market themselves. They build great cities but hide behind little curtains.

When it was all over, and she had reached the end of the road, Dorothy stood with Toto in her arms and a tear in her eye. She had not found the way home. The yellow brick road, as simple and well-marked as it was, had led her nowhere. The great city had proved no better than the farmyard at satisfying her heart. Her friends couldn’t give her what she ultimately needed. Nor could the great and powerful Wizard.

Having begun her journey by the gracious intervention of a power greater than herself, she now realized that all the paths she had taken subsequently were dead ends. Though they came highly recommended and were firmly believed in by those who promoted them, they could not ultimately help Dorothy or lead her home.

And then once more grace intervened. As Dorothy stood weeping, Glinda the Good Witch appeared.

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?

Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.

Dorothy: I have?

Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?

Glinda: Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

What?

Read those words again. “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.” And, “She had to learn it for herself.”

From the moment grace set her down in a new land, she had the power to find home. She had the ability to make the journey. She had the resources to make it all the way. She didn’t know it then. But it had all been given to her.

She didn’t need the yellow brick road. She didn’t need the city. She didn’t need the wizard. She and her friends (who, by the way learned the same lesson), didn’t need what they thought they needed or what others thought they needed. All the “paths” laid out for them proved to be worthless. All the “experts” proved incapable of granting their deepest needs and wants. Their only value was providing context for Dorothy learning for herself what she needed.

They only needed to make the journey. In walking, they found the way.

Traveler, your footsteps are
the way, and nothing more.

Traveler, there is not a way;
the way is made by walking.

• Antonio Machado

Comments

  1. Susan Dumbrell says:

    or are we the small grey mouse who having survived the tornado around us and now looks for the crumbs swiped from the table at the first eucharist. We scramble about looking for God’s favours, sometimes secretly hidden but always eventually found.
    They, all crumbs are equally acceptable in our Lord’s eyes..
    No spectacle of pomp and ceremony can make the sacrifice more complete.
    He gives us His all.
    Christ lives with us every moment and every second. Our inward breath and then our outward songs of praise.
    How shall we sing the majesty.

    Susan

  2. Robert F says:

    It’s true that I make a way by walking. But, at least for me, the way I make is not the way home. I go in overlapping circles, again and again recognizing landmarks I have visited before, but thought I’d left behind long ago. If the path leads home, it’s not because I have any power or wisdom in myself to make one that does, but because Christ is making the way ahead of me, and leading me by the way of grace in toward a center that I cannot even perceive, though it is always the center at each moment, and always the destination.

  3. I hate to be a party pooper… but given how stubbornly independent and individualist we Americans can be… I’m not sure the lessons you want to teach through this parable are the ones that many readers will actually draw.

  4. The tremendous appeal of fairy tale and myth alike is the precision of truth that they touch. They are not ‘made up’ but like all fine art they emerge from the artist from the unconscious. They are gifts. The Wiz is a perfect example. Great stuff!

  5. Stephen says:

    Not to get all mystical here, but then, why not? (Not being a poet I must defer to those who are.)

    The Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it.

    -Gospel of Thomas saying 113

    I have lived on the lip of insanity,
    wanting to know reasons,
    knocking on a door.
    It opens.
    I’ve been knocking from the inside!

    – Jalaluddin Rumi

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    Through the unknown, unremembered gate
    When the last of earth left to discover
    Is that which was the beginning;
    At the source of the longest river
    The voice of the hidden waterfall
    And the children in the apple-tree

    Not known, because not looked for
    But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
    Between two waves of the sea.
    Quick now, here, now, always–
    A condition of complete simplicity
    (Costing not less than everything)
    And all shall be well and
    All manner of thing shall be well
    When the tongues of flames are in-folded
    Into the crowned knot of fire
    And the fire and the rose are one.

    -T S Eliot “Little Gidding” from Four Quartets

  6. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    In the words of Elton John:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDOL7iY8kfo

    And a related Momento from classic Dr Demento:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nJ30dodvdc
    (Just page the over-clever video offscreen and listen to the audio…)

  7. john barry says:

    Home is where the heart is. In the book the lion goes to the forest with his new brave heart, the tin man goes to help a certain village with his courage and the scarecrow helps manage the city, all with their new gifts. Dorothy wanted to go back home, which is of course Kansas. We treasure our home in this world and rightfully so, God wants us to love home.

    Old story about a missionary returning home from China in the 1930’s in third class on a ship to get back to USA. On the same ship is Babe Ruth, of course in first class When they arriving a band, thousands were there to greet Babe Ruth and welcome him home. No one met the missionary, he had to take the bus to his home.
    The missionary was dismayed and felt a failure. His home coming was unheralded, no crowds, no rejoicing and really no public notice. He had served faithfully and done great things in the mission field and no Babe Ruth welcome. He prayed to God and asked why he was not greeted so well and rejoiced with when he returned home and God spoke to his heart, “You Are Not Home Yet” or “This is Not Your Home, depending on editor. A old story probably as true as the Wizard of Oz but I think most of us here would agree.

    I think Dorothy was the last person who actually wanted to go back to Kansas voluntarily but I could be wrong.
    I would just add, just me , but Dorothy had to believe in something other than her self, she had to have faith the shoes could get her home and accept the power of the shoes, which are now in the national museum . And faith shall lead her home.