My sixteen-year old son just finished a run as The Scarecrow in The Wizard Of Oz on stage, and paternal pride is fighting with Christian humility in evaluating how wonderful he and the production both were.
But I want to talk about the most iconic song in the show, one that’s actually a throwaway at the beginning of the show (while the lead character is still in Kansas), in which Dorothy has been struck by life’s difficulties (a local woman with more power than kindness wanted her dog put down), and longs for a place where she won’t be hurt by the problems that earthly life entails.
Sound familiar, Christians?
When all the world is a hopeless jumble and the raindrops tumble all around
Heaven opens a magic lane
Start right there. “When life sucks, and chaos consumes you, God provides a way out.” Isn’t that what she’s saying there? What can be more Christian than that? It’s almost the Gospel!
When all the clouds darken up the skyway, there’s a rainbow highway to be found-
Leading from your window pane – to a place behind the sun – just a step beyond the rain
“A place behind the sun”? Like, with the Person who made the sun? Beyond the rain, on the rainbow highway, created by God to promise to man He would never use the rain to wipe him out again?
Both of these opening lyrics express a yearning for a place and a way to escape from the “darkened clouds” of life, and the assumption that that place both exists and is where and Who we think it is…
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
From our youngest days, we heard about Heaven, in every place which has a Judeo-Christian culture. Even families raising atheistic kids refer to Heaven, if only tangentially, “once in a lullaby”.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true
Isn’t that how we all envision Heaven? Blue skies, no worries, all of our dreams coming true?
Someday I’ll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh, why can’t I?
“Look at the birds of the air,” said the Lord Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 6:26). “They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
If all those little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh, why, can’t I?
The answer, of course? You can, Dorothy. You CAN. And as is the case in Christianity, the true conversion is the simplest act – so simple, that the converted cannot possibly believe it really IS that simple. “All you have to do is BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and follow His Word, and you will be saved!”
“Click your heels three times if you believe!”
…and the Holy Spirit will come and live within you – right where you live.
“Because Toto, there’s no place like home!”
And we all know that this is not our home. We are travelers passing through this world, waiting for our VISA to expire and for our Tour Guide to come take us all Home.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.