I realize this is back-to-back blog posts regarding movie parallels to scripture. Chalk it up to nostalgia, a pre-mid-twenties life crisis, or I'm just geeking out on my childhood. One of the most popular films of the Twentieth Century was The Wizard of Oz, based upon the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum.
Near the end of the movie, Dorothy and the Yellow Brick Road gang (Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Lion) were all being addressed by the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz. Their knees trembled in fear and possibly admiration at the apparent might of the Wizard. The dog, Toto, ran off to the side, pulled back on a curtain, and showed that a normal-looking humbug of a person was operating cranks and levers to give the appearance of a mighty Wizard. Even after he is discovered he kept pulling and cranking, and spoke into the microphone, "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, I AM the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz!!"
Then he gives up, knowing he trick has been seen through and there's nothing that can change it.
His desire was to impress and instill awe. The Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz wasn't great or powerful. The man behind the curtain was more concerned about how it looked, than what it actually did. It was a huge charade.
Scripture: Jesus speaking about the Pharisees and teachers of religious law: “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.'
“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah.“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either
- Matthew 23:5-13
What are the times we substitute transparency and honesty for power or prestige? What are the things in our lives we are trying to magnify, so that other people will admire us?
Further reading: the book of Matthew.