-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe
Rabbi M. M. Schneerson
Well, I – I think that it – it wasn’t enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em – and it’s that – if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Sometimes I don’t think we know what we want as people or faith. Sometimes I don’t think we know what we have. We are always looking off to the horizon, off to the brightest star in the sky or at the furthest cloud on the wind. We look for God in Heaven and long for the return of Jesus but we forget that we are right here and that God is with us. We forget that we have a job to do here. We forget that God expects us to be His junior partners in repairing a broken world and paving the way for the Messiah’s coming.
Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post called The New Testament is Not in Heaven, the title of which, is a play on the words of the Torah in Deuteronomy 30:12. Here we see Moses giving the Children of Israel his final, impassioned speech before he proceeds to his own death and sends the nation of Israel across the Jordan and into war without his leadership.
The Torah is not in Heaven. What does this mean except that what we need from God is not far from us at all. What we have, as Rabbi Freeman tells us, is what we carry with us. Dorothy too tells us that if we think we are missing something, it isn’t missing at all. It’s as close as our “own back yard.” Why do we pretend that God is distant and His will is far away?
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” –Matthew 22:36-40
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? –Micah 6:8
I’ve written about all this before, using the same scriptures and perhaps even repeating some of what I’ve written for today. Yet those who claim the cause of Christ still look far away for God, still think He can be captured in a list of “dos” and “don’ts”, still think it is pagan to want to feed the hungry rather than condemn a fir tree decorated with lights. Perhaps for those who pursue a spirit of disdain, God is far away. How can we ever share the good news of Christ while we’re spilling out the darkness in our hearts and calling it light?
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? –Matthew 7:3
Take the plank out of your eye and start looking for God. I think he’s in the backyard near the flower bed.