Wizard Of Oz movie poster, 1939Featured song, The Land Of Oohs And Ahs by Reba Rambo, from her 1977 album Reba Lady.

Unless you have the misfortune to have not experienced one of the great American traditions of the past 70 years, you should have seen at least once the classic MGM movie, The Wizard Of Oz. According the Wikipedia article about the movie, it was not a big hit when it first hit the silver screen in 1939, although the song Over The Rainbow became quite popular at the time. It was first aired on television in 1956, and then annually from 1956 through 1991, thirty-five consecutive years. Since then, it actually airs more than once a year, on multiple networks, including Turner Classic Movies. And as with some other films that were not great commercial successes when they first appeared, The Wizard Of Oz just continued to grow in popularity over time.

We watched this again last night. It was fun, and nostalgic, and again moving in its final message — There’s no place like home! It is actually a retelling of the classic finding-yourself story: Life seems like it has to be better somewhere else; the hero (or heroine) leaves or is pushed away from home to take a journey of adventure and self-discovery; and in the end, it is discovered that part of what was being sought was back at the beginning, at home.

The story experienced by Dorothy and her friends in the land of Oz is also the story of some of us. Some may have left the faith of their youth, looking for something better. Sometimes it’s just the normal changes of life, having to leave home and go out on your own, but still feeling that longing for the home in which you grew up. The end of the story is that the Emerald City that we’ve been seeking for is actually not the place we need to be; where we need to be is in the arms of God, in our true home. And the home, the life that we remember and fondly long for again, was just a dim reflection of the true home we will ultimately have. Its why we loved that old home, that old world so much; it was a poor copy of the home we’ll have in heaven.

And then in 1977, this artist named Reba Rambo released a song with a really strange name, The Land of Oohs and Ahas. And here was the influence of so many years of seeing The Wizard Of Oz on TV, but the story was retold in the language of the Jesus movement.

I wish I could say I had a clean copy of this, but the album appears to be available nowhere I could find. This copy of the song presented here is from The Larry Black Show back in 1977. The day I taped it from WOW 590 AM, we apparently had some thunderstorms in the vicinity, and so there are those good-old summertime crashes of lightning here and there through the recording. Similarly, I cannot locate a good copy of the album cover to post at the end of the lyrics. However, if you would like to obtain a better recording of it, you can hear it on The Beginnings Concert, recorded in 2005, along with many other pioneers of Jesus music together in a live concert. You can use the above link, or order it from Amazon (below).

Once upon a time I was caught up in a whirlwind
Spinnin’ fast, till at last I hit the ground
Then I met some folks with faith like little children
With words of truth, they introduced me to their King

Put His ruby slippers on my feet,
Started walkin’ the yellow brick road
Now I’m travelin’ far from home
Instead of bricks, I’ll walk on streets of gold!

We’re off to the pearly white city
Where all of our dreams come true
Word’s can’t describe its splendor
It’s the land of Oohs and Ahs

Somewhere over the rainbow
We’ll see the king Jesus
He’s not exactly a wizard
But He can make new creatures out of us!

He can take a heart so cold as a tin man’s
And warm it up, warm it up with His love
He can give you the courage of a lion
To stand up, stand up in the devil’s face

If you got a mixed-up scarecrow’s mind
Your thoughts He will renew
If you think there’s no place like home
You should see the one He’s built for you!

We’re off to the pearly white city
Where all of our dreams come true
Word’s can’t describe its splendor, no
It’s the land of Oohs and Ahs

Somewhere over the rainbow
We’ll see the king Jesus
He’s so much more than a wizard
And He can make new creatures out of us!
He can make new creatures out of us
He can make new creatures out of us

Some day I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up, where the clouds are far behind me
Where all my troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I’ve heard of
So many times in my momma’s lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Little bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Someday, so will I
Someday, so will I !

Reba Lady, 1977, Reba Rambo [iframe http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=gregrejoy-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0018ONO4G&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr 120 240]

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