Follow the Yellow Brick Circles

Have you ever paid close attention to the movie, The Wizard of Oz? If you haven’t, you should. There are lots of easily missed spiritual life concepts hiding among the bright colors. One that struck me particularly while watching it with my two year old, was the start of the yellow brick road.

First, there is the obvious connection between streets of gold in Heaven and the yellow brick road in Oz. However, that isn’t what the scene reminded me of. If you remember correctly, the road spirals red and yellow in the center of Munchkin Land, where Dorothy begins her journey to the Emerald City. She is standing in the middle of the spiral, where the road first begins. The munchkins are telling her to “follow the yellow brick road,” in their little singsong voices and the occasional baritone. As each one offers this same command, she is beginning to obey.

Dorothy takes a few steps and another munchkin pops out to remind her, “follow the yellow brick road.” What strikes me as odd about this scene is how Dorothy walks. She circles with the yellow bricks completely around the spiral design. How easy it would have been to walk right across the red bricks and begin where the road is straight and wide. What human would circle pointlessly when an easier method is obvious?

But it was important that Dorothy take those baby steps, so the munchkins had time to remind her to follow the yellow brick road. She got to see the contrast between the yellow bricks and the red bricks, as they were still side-by-side. The repetition would stick in her head and become a mantra.

Follow the yellow brick road.

Follow the yellow brick road.

Follow the yellow brick road.

Those first steps look pointless to us, but she got her bearing about her, received instruction and got into a rhythm that would keep her going all the way to the wizard. Glinda could have magically transported her straight to the Emerald City or even home to Kansas, but she knew Dorothy had some things to learn first.

How like us in our spiritual walk! Some days, it feels like we are walking in circles. We may see a slight progression or it may be too small to notice, and that frustrates us. Why can’t we move ahead to where the road is wide and we can see miles ahead? God could simply speak and we would be at the end of our journey. After all, he simply spoke the world into existence, did He not? He let’s us take the baby steps though. He watches us as we notice the red bricks and the yellow, as we listen to His voice come from all kinds of places, saying, “Follow the yellow brick road.”

Or, as He said to James and John, “Follow me.”


*originally published on Middle Places


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