God, Easter, and The Wizard of Oz
by Sandi Martin
So yesterday, my family and I celebrated another great Easter Sunday. Late in the day when things began to calm down, I began to think back to the many Easter Sunday’s I have celebrated over the years. One Easter Sunday in particular stuck out in my mind.
I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. My mother was a Sunday School teacher and whenever the church doors were open, whatever the reason, we were there.
That meant Sunday morning from 9:45 until noon or later, depending on how long winded the preacher was. Then there was the Sunday Evening service, that began with Training Union at 6 and another service at 7 or 7:30. Now you went home exhausted to begin a new week.
Just about the time that you were beginning to recover from Sunday services, it was time for the Wednesday night service. That started at 7:30, followed by choir practice. There were also various other organizations one could join which would fill up some more time during the week.
Twice a year, there was a revival. Revivals began on Sunday night and generally ran until Friday night. Revival sermons were usually provided by a visiting preacher, who would dine at a different members house every evening. And yes, my family was one of the houses visited because my mother was always on the list.
My sister and I were brought up involved in every aspect of the church. We even played on the ladies softball team.
Our family never missed an opportunity to be in church.
Back then television was limited to only three stations. Those stations carried certain programs that my sister and I missed every Sunday night. There was Lassie, Walt Disneys Wonderful World of Color among others.
However, the magic of The Wizard of Oz was only offered for viewing pleasure on Easter Sunday night. Well, you likely know where my sister and I were every Easter Sunday night.
One Easter Sunday afternoon, my mother announced that she was thinking about missing church that evening.
Could it be possible? My sister and I were actually going to get to see The Wizard of Oz?
Joy, joy. Satan had entered our mother just in the nick of time and he was telling her to skip Sunday night services on the most important Sunday of the year!
Satan, who was disguised as our mother, did make demands of us. We were to take a bath, without arguing and be ready for bed as soon as the presentation was over.
We were bathed and dressed in our pajamas and ready for the program to begin when God showed up.
When we turned on our television, there was only a black screen. It wasn’t just blank, it was totally black! No sound, no picture. No wizard.
After all these years, my sister and I had ridden the bus to school on the Monday morning after Easter and suffered through all of our friends reminiscing about their Sunday night experience of viewing The Wizard of Oz.
This just could not be happening. A black screen? Not even a test pattern. We changed the channel and still the screen was black. We were not even going to get to see any Sunday night television.
We were so disappointed and we begged our Mom to fix the television. This was one of those things that mother couldn’t make better. Yes, there were these two little sinners, perfectly willing to bid our souls to hell for just one Easter Sunday visit to the land of Oz!
Alas, the viewing did not take place and obviously Satan had left our mother. It was now that she declared, that God was punishing US for wanting to watch the television instead of attending church.
I refer to this as Mother throwing my sister and I under the church.
Easter rolled around the next year and my sister and I thought, “Dare we ask?”
We finally got up the courage to ask if we could stay home from church on Easter Sunday night to view The Wizard of Oz.
She didn’t even tell us no. All she had to say was, “Do you remember what happened last year?”
God showed up!