Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…

I guess it’s only natural after attending a funeral that you pause to think about your own. You know, what might be said or songs that might be sung. Jim and I always have that conversation, “when I die, …” and go on to state things we prefer. Since my brother’s funeral, the song Sweet Hour of Prayer has been on my mind. I learned to play it on the piano as a child and it has always been a favorite of mine. But the song confused me as a child.

Another thing that puzzled me was the movie the Wizard of Oz. Unlike today, when movies are no more than seconds from our viewing pleasure, the Wizard of Oz was aired on television one time a year. If you missed it, you had to wait a whole year before you could watch it.

I loved the munchkins, feared the flying monkeys and viewed the witch as weak, as a bucket of water was enough to hand her a defeat. But the thing that fascinated me the most, was Oz.

In my mind, Oz was like God. As an adult, I know that the author intended it this way, but not, perhaps, in the way I interpreted it.

In the film, Oz is the “all powerful, all knowing”. He is aloof, unapproachable, intimidating. Oz was threatening, controlling, manipulative. The only reason Dorothy and the others went after the witch was fear…while quite the motivator at times, to a child, being scared into doing something is not an endearing trait.

Even when Toto pulled back the curtain and it was revealed that Oz was just a man, it fit into my train of thought. God came to earth as man and lived with us. So on one hand, you had the big scary Oz whom sent them away in fear and on the other hand you had a mere man who did nothing more than point out that they already had what they had sought for. For some reason, as a child, it was a bit of a let down. No magic spell…no waving of the wand. No instant satisfaction.

You see, I wanted Oz…and God…to be magicians. Presto chango…grant you three wishes…Hocus Pocus… I wanted a genie in the bottle, someone to come out, do as I bid and then go away until I needed him again.

The song Sweet Hour of Prayer that talked about going to “my Father’s throne, make all my wants and wishes known.” I thought this meant that if I could go to where God was, aka the Wizard of Oz, I could tell him what I wanted and it should happened in an instant. But, in my child’s mind, I pictured Oz as a big booming voice or a mere mortal…neither of which was very satisfying in my opinion. And so, neither was my opinion of God.

But now…I get it. I understand that God is not a “request by audience only” kind of God. That I need not fear approaching him. That going to the throne of God is a source of comfort and peace. That while I still have the task of life at hand, I go not alone, but that God goes with me. He doesn’t stay on the throne and wait for my return. He doesn’t hide behind a curtain and peek out to see if I have left. Together, we move through life. Together, we face uncertainty.

I can’t see what today might bring. The next hour, the next minute…

But God sees not only today and yesterday, but every tomorrow that will ever be…

And there in lies my peace.

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