Dorothy. The Cowardly Lion. The Tin Man. The Scarecrow. Glinda. The Wicked Witch of the West. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road, follow the Yellow Brick Road”. Munchkinland. “Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!” Name any of these things and the thing that most people immediately think of is The Wizard of Oz. However, studies have shown that the most iconic symbol of this timeless film is Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers. In fact, they are one of the most asked about artifacts at the Smithsonian after being anonymously donated in 1979.
The Wizard of Oz. You know the story. Dorothy is knocked unconscious during a tornado and awakens to find herself in a strange village. It turns out that strange village is Munchkinland, where Dorothy meets Glinda the Good Witch of the North, who informs her that her (Dorothy) house has landed on and killed the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy is revered as a heroine to the frightened Munchkins, but the celebration is interrupted when the Wicked Witch of the West suddenly appears and tries to claim her dead sister’s powerful ruby slippers. Glinda magically transfers them to Dorothy’s feet and reminds the Witch of the West that her power is ineffectual in Munchkinland. She promises Dorothy, the now epic promise, “I’ll get you, my pretty… and your little dog, too!” Dorothy just wants to go home. When she inquires from Glinda how to do just that, Glinda advises her to seek help from the ever mysterious Wizard of Oz, who can be found in the Emerald City. “How do I reach the Emerald City,” Dorothy wants to know. “Follow the yellow brick road.”
We spend the rest of the movie journeying with Dorothy to the Emerald City. Along the way, we meet The Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, and The Tin Man; all are in search of something, so they opt to follow the Yellow Brick Road together.
After surviving flying monkeys, the Wicked Witch of the West, and many other obstacles along the way—Dorothy finally meets the Wizard. She learns that he cannot actually do anything for her and finds that she is still desperate to find a way home. Glinda appears to tell her the she (Dorothy) always had the power to return home. All she had to do was close her eyes, tap her heels together three times, and keep repeating “There’s no place like home.”
Dorothy held the power to change everything all along. Isn’t that just like us, as Christians? We walk around with the love and power of Jesus all day long and yet do nothing with it. Like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, we are absolutely useless when we aren’t tapping into the Power and allowing ourselves to be used for the very thing we were commissioned to do. We would rather follow our own Yellow Brick Road full of arguments of Chic-fil-A versus Target; Republican versus Democrat; my belief in this versus your belief in that. What do we find when we get to the end? That instead of feeling desperate for answers, we should have just tapped our ruby slippers and found that we could have just loved our neighbor like Jesus all along and changed everything.
What about you? What yellow brick road are you chasing? What keeps you from just tapping your ruby slippers and finding that you already walk in the power and love of Jesus?