Behind the Curtain
Dorothy sat with the Wizard in a huge cavern. They were reacquainted with one another the same way their paths were parted. The Wizard floated away and back again, in a hot air balloon. Now they were trapped underground. They could see the sun in the distance, but they had no way to reach it. Once again, the Wizard had survived by tricking the different people into believing he could do real magic. No one in this party believed he was a real Wizard. The curtain had been pulled back, and the trick had been learned. Dorothy knew what he really was. The Wizard was a humbug. The Wizard spoke those words in an injured tone. Dorothy spoke those words in love. Despite what he really was, Dorothy still loved him.
- Summary from Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz- pages 177-8
So many phrases stick out in my mind from my young adult life, but one has really come to mind today, "Once we learn the truth, it cannot be undone. We simply must move on to understand what that truth means." We are allowed to accept that truth can hurt us, like the Wizard. Yet like Dorothy, we are called to find the real magic and wonder once that truth is learned.
Dr. Rev. Fred Craddock was a Wizard of sorts. He was able to speak bold truths about the bible without pulling the curtain back. It made his sermons both relatable and educational. It's serious business preaching, because once you learn the truth, it cannot be undone. It's not like everyone is in the same place in their faith journey.We are not all walking into the great hall to get our heart, brain and courage at the same time. It's also not like there is some mystic age where these truths can be learned. We all have our own pace to accept these truths. A sixteen year old might be where a forty year old is when it comes to faith development. Eventually, there comes the time where the curtain has to be pulled back for the story to continue. For our faith to grow.
This is why I'm not going to give you a sermon on the Creation narrative. I'm going to show you my work. I'm going to pull back the curtain, and explain what I'm doing. Let's begin.
The bible begins with two Creation Narratives. The first is Genesis 1-2:1-3. The second is Genesis 2:4-25. (These audio captures are from Reddit Reads the Bible. It's a project of /r/Christianity.) We believe these are two different accounts of creation because certain things are happening again. Let's use those tools I mentioned last week to figure this out:
When I'm doing sermon prep, I'm not just doing the above work. I'm also trying to figure out what you can do with it. Like a surgeon doesn't cut upon a patient and just point out what he or she sees. They see a problem, and they find a solution to that problem. We must, as a people of God, find a way to close this up so we don't bleed out.
I am not an Atheist. I am not an Agnostic. I believe there is something beyond this realm of existence. It is something that cannot be easily quantified. I believe there is a God in that existence, and that God is a God of love. I believe Christ is the Son of that God, and the Spirit of Christ dwells in all of us.
We get to the Emerald City of our faith, and we give up when the curtain is pulled back. In actuality, the curtain is just the beginning. We can choose to get stuck with our green colored glasses, and not accept there's more. Many have made that choice, and many a faith have grown stagnant because of it. I'm moving forward. I'm taking a new path, knowing where I'm headed. I'm headed towards the Truth: the Word made flesh. Yes, when I first began my Christian journey I thought it would look different. That's the trick about Truth. We don't know until we get there. Do what Dorothy did. Love what was, and let it go. Our old faith will not help us as we begin this journey. Also, it will eventually come back to us, when we can reacquire it in a new way. Understand it in a new light, and to walk in that light.