Benediction: Philippians 2:19-30

When the Tin Man sets off on his journey with his friends, he is led by questions — Can the Great Oz give me a new heart? If he can, will he? — When he gets to Oz the Wizard says he can, but he has conditions — prove your worth, overcome the enemy, bring me the wicked witch’s broomstick. I don’t really remember a scene in which Dorothy and her friends wrestle with doubt, but if they did, I wonder if their quest would have survived. So many questions, so much to do, no guarantees. And if you remember, when they get to Oz, he doesn’t have anything to offer but the revelation that what they wanted was inside them all the time.

Had fortune cookies been invented, it could have saved a bunch of trips up and down the yellow brick road.

I like to imagine a scene a week or a month after the story told in the movie ends in which the Tin Man is cutting wood and remembers his former Munchkin love. He sets down his axe and his face falls because he realizes that what was inside all the time was the most broken part.

Our God flips the script on that story, before the questions, before the conditions, we hear the promise in the book of Ezekiel — “I will give you a new heart.” And then Jesus in the book of John calls us Friend. Then before you have a chance to blow it, Christ on the cross declares “It is finished.”

May you be blessed with deep and joyful friendships. May you be carried by the unshakeable Love of the heart-giving God.

Go in Peace.

September 20, 2020

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