“Tooth of the Lion”
By Nancy Hylton of Seattle, WA, USA
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. —Isaiah 11:1–4 NRSV
I was weeding my rose beds this morning and it struck me, as it has many times, how persistent some weeds are, especially dandelions. They overcome seemingly impossible odds and spring up in a crack in the sidewalk. They survive droughts, remaining green and continuing to flower when all the surrounding grass turns brown at the height of summer.
In at least in one parable Jesus spoke negatively about weeds; in that case it was thorns. However, I believe the lesson of persistence in the face of obstacles is the message of the dandelions. When I face obstacles, I often tend to lose heart and energy.
If you have ever tried to pull dandelions, you know their roots go deep and stubbornly attach themselves to the substance of the soil—hence the meaning of their name “tooth of the lion.” I should follow that example and strongly root my life in God’s gracious Spirit.
The way dandelions spread their feathery, windborne seeds is also noteworthy. If only I could spread my testimony of God’s compassion and grace so prolifically and persistently.
As we look around us, we tend to underrate the value of some individuals as weed-like—pesky and persistent. God reminds us in simple yet profound ways that all are worthy and valuable. I thank God for helping me see the value and worth of all people. I thank God for dandelion-like strength and persistence in the face of obstacles to my faith. I know I am not living Christ’s mission by my own strength.
Prayer for Peace
Master Gardener, may we always honor the sacredness of creation. Help us learn from the Earth and respect the fragile web of life. Help us grow strong roots that cling to Christ’s message of peace.
Spiritual Practice: Deepening Roots
A tree with superficial roots will wither during drought, or severe storms may uproot it. A tree whose roots go deep is stable and draws from deep waters. Imagine yourself as a tree by a river or stream. Sense your roots extending deep into the earth in search of God’s Spirit. Reflect or pray about what you hope to find as your spirit searches for deeper identity in God.
Today, God, I will respect the dandelion—but I will still pull it from my garden!