Contemplating Oz: There is No Place Like Home

Life Notes—October 24, 2013 

  “And Jesus said to them, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’” Matthew 8:20

“Oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home!”  Dorothy Gale

Following a hit to the head with a window sent flying by a Kansas twister, Dorothy Gale leaves her dreary Kansas farm and finds herself in Oz.  The Land of Oz is beautiful, colorful, and mysterious.  It is home to munchkins and roads of yellow brick.  There are good witches and bad witches.  There are horses of a different color and forests full of lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!  Dorothy meets a few good and faithful friends in Oz, yet all she can think about is that she wants to go home.  For Dorothy, home was her familiar, if drab Kansas farm.

I am a homeboy.  Although I enjoy working and traveling, my heart never strays far from home.  I am always happy to see our house at the end of the gravel drive, regardless of whether I have been away for a week or an hour.  Even if the yard needs mowing and the trim needs painting, it is home and it is where I long to be.  Home is comfortable and familiar.  It is where I feel loved and accepted, in spite of my faults and frailties.  Early in the movie, Dorothy runs away from home believing her family does not understand her.  She wants to see new lands and meet new people.  Once in Oz—a new land with new people—she wants to return home.

There are many ways to view home.  For some it is the physical structure in which they eat and sleep.  For others it is the company of those who love and accept them.  For a soul, home is its earthly body.  In spite of their different natures, all earthly homes are temporary.  Houses crumble from age, burn to the ground, or blow away in tornadoes.  Our bodies weaken and die.  In Matthew, Jesus claims he has no earthly home.  He tells his followers they must leave behind everything that is comfortable and familiar.  That is not a comfortable thought for a homebody like me. However, Jesus does not call us to homelessness or friendlessness.  Rather, he calls us to a new home and a new community, an eternal home known as the kingdom of God.  Just as we cannot live in two structures at the same time, we cannot simultaneously be home on earth and home with God.  Home is where the heart is and God desires that part of us.  Dorothy could not be home in Kansas and home in Oz—she had to make a choice.  Jesus calls us to make a choice, too.

Come home to church this Sunday.  After all, there is no place like home.

Greg Hildenbrand

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