Chaplain’s Corner: XCII

“The Presence of God in Our Lives”

Many people feel a twinge of disappointment the first time they see The Wizard of Oz. The heroes have
journeyed through one obstacle after another in search of some of life’s best gifts. If only I had a brain. If
only I had a heart. If I only had courage. If only I could go home.

But the Wizard has nothing to give Dorothy’s friends except a piece of paper, a ticking clock, and a cheap
metal heart. Is that it?

But gradually it dawns on us that the reason the Wizard has nothing to give the three companions is that
they already have what they have been looking for. The Scarecrow is wise. The Tin Man feels love to the
depth of his—well, where his heart would have been. And the Cowardly Lion is entirely ready and able to
act bravely, which he has demonstrated on several occasions.

And what of Dorothy? The Good Witch informs her that the ruby slippers she is wearing have always been capable of taking her home whenever she wanted. Uh, don’t you think that would have been somewhat useful information to share at the beginning of the journey?

Actually, no. Dorothy has to learn, all by herself what she’s really facing and what she can do about it. And that will only happen by taking that trip down the Yellow Brick Road. The same is true for her companions.

Another way of putting it is that they all need a wake up call, not just from a field of poppies.

We have to accept that human culture is in a mass hypnotic trance—writes Father Richer Rohr, “We’re
sleepwalkers.” That’s what Jesus says on multiple occasions. “Be watchful.” And the Apostle Paul pleads, “Wake up, O sleeper, and rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

We may find ourselves slogging through another day with our own set of wishes. If only I knew God was
really there. If I only knew everything was going to be OK. If I only knew that my life mattered. All too often we’re oblivious to the fact that we already have the blessings we’ve been searching for.

We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God is maintaining us in existence with every breath we take. It’s not that we need to learn something new and amazing to experience a spiritual homecoming with God.

It’s always been possible to go there right now- Just as We Are.

Ron Naylor, Chaplain