Join us with special guest John Carney as we go back to the Emerald City and seek out even more Christian themes in “The Wizard of Oz.”
(Haven’t heard our first episode yet? Didn’t even know it existed? Listen to it here and catch up with the rest of us.)
Special Guest #1: John Carney
This episode, we are fortunate enough to be joined by roving-reporter-by-day-superhero-by-night John Carney. A fellow brother in Christ, John serves as the city editor of the Shelbyville Times-Gazette and is also the mind behind Lake Neuron.
John also wrote a featured article about us, which landed on the FRONT PAGE of the Times-Gazette. You should read it here.
Commandments and Broomsticks
The Wizard’s commandment is clear: “Bring me the broomstick of the Witch of the West.” And that’s a daunting task because; as the Tin Man says, “We’d have to kill her to get it.”
And that’s ultimately how it plays out:
- The Witch and her army trap Dorothy and the Ozian Trio in one of the castle wings.
- The Witch’s plan? Kill them: “The last to go will see the first three go before her.”
- The Witch lights the Scarecrow’s arm on fire (see the Witch’s book “How to Kill a Scarecrow).
- Dorothy throws water on the Scarecrow’s arm, saving him from burning to death.
- Some of the water lands on the Witch and kills her via liquidation.
Now, was it Dorothy’s intention to kill the Witch? I don’t think so.
In fact, I’ll conceit that neither Dorothy nor any of the Ozian trio are capable of killing anybody – not for lack of physical ability, but because blatant murder isn’t how they do things. They’re too innocent for someone else’s blood on their hands.
But if they want their rewards as promised by the Wizard, they have to withstand this trial and keep his commandments. And even though they didn’t know exactly how it was all going to work out, they still pressed on, trusted in the Wizard, and finally obtained the broomstick.
Such is our lot as followers of Jesus and witnesses to the transformative qualities our followership brings. Jesus says it very plainly:
If you love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
Some people call this “blind faith.” And in a sense, they’re right. Whenever we’ve been given a commandment and don’t know exactly how our following of it is counted as “love,” we simply have to press on and trust in Jesus who gave the commandment so that we can finally return home to Him.
The Ruby Red Slippers = the Blood of the Lamb
In the last episode, Michael spoke about the Yellow Brick Road being the only way to the Emerald City and likened it to Jesus being the only Way to home with God (aka Heaven.) The Ruby Slippers also share a connection, but this time as the blood of Jesus Christ (as if the colors weren’t enough).
The reason for Dorothy needing to see the Wizard is because she believes that he is the only way she can get back home to Kansas.
And right at the beginning of this journey, she is shod with the Ruby Slippers. These aren’t just any ol’ shoes, either; this is one powerful pair of pumps. In fact, they’re so powerful that they have drawn the desire of the Wicked Witch of the West (albeit they were her sister’s and thus rightfully her’s upon death, but whatevs).
Here’s the problem: the Witch can’t get the shoes unless Dorothy gives them up or dies.
And Glenda has already encouraged Dorothy to never give them up. So Dorothy does as instructed, and the Witch tries (and ultimately fails) in getting the shoes. Dorothy then gets back the Wizard, does her thing, and so on.
And as it turns out, Dorothy had the power to return home all along – only Glenda didn’t tell her that at the beginning because Dorothy – like most of us – wouldn’t have believed her without going on the journey.
In all this, the scenarios surrounding Ruby Slippers and Jesus’ blood are alike in several ways:
- It is with us from the beginning of our Christian walk – the moment when we deny ourselves and are baptized into the blood of the Lamb.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:11, 15)
- No matter how hard he tries, the Devil is powerless to take that grace away from us (unless we give it up).
My Father, who has given [My sheep] to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:29-30)
- We sometimes have to sojourn with the Holy Spirit in order to accept this gift.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
- But in the end, it’s the only thing that can get us back home to God – who was with us all along.
…that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…(Acts 17:27)
Is there anything else that “The Wizard of Oz” makes you think of? I know Michael could go on forever about character analyses and plot points…but for the sake of moving on, we’re moving on unless anyone else has something. Either leave a voice mail or comment below, y’all.
Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.
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