Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Plastic Cup full of Dandelions

Early this morning Scout and I took off on our walk. This morning we were on a mission: we were looking for dandelions, some dandelions I would use in the children's message this memorial day weekend. I knew that the house on the corner had a pretty good crop of dandelions. I had admired them just yesterday. But when we arrived, I discovered that they had already turned from bright yellow to balls of fluff, and some had already blown away.

So we had to look a little farther to find enough dandelions, and that was absolutely okay with Scout, whose main job is to stop and smell the roses, the dandelions, the streets, the garbage, and anything else in any way smelly. The dandelions, at least most of them, looked a little scraggly and bedraggled, not anything like I had hoped, as I bunched them all together in my hand. I guess they had gotten beaten down in our rainstorm last night.

At the last minute, I also grabbed a handful of creeping charlie from our back yard (yes, I confess, we have some Creeping Charlie). It doesn't look so great on the lawn, but it looked great in my bouquet.

I put everything in a blue plastic cup, added water and took my bouquet to church for the children's message.

The first thing I noticed was: by the time of the children's message, the scraggly yellow dandelions had opened up nicely. They looked pretty and healthy, just like real flowers. There were only two children at the first (outdoor) service, where it threatened rain but stayed dry. When I asked whether they had dandelions in their yard, their mother put her head in her hands. I resolved not to ask that particular question at the next service. When I asked whether God loved them better than God loved dandelions, the older sibling looked at me as if to say, "I am too old for this stuff. Of course God loves us better!"

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of children at the second service. At 10:00, it was still looking pretty thin, but by the time we were done singing, it filled out a little. Still thin attendance, but a pretty good crop of children. I gave them each a dandelion, to remind them about how God loved them, like God loves EVEN dandelions, and creeping charlie.

And it occurred to me: this might be a simple and a "nice" message, or it might be more. Think about all the dandelions in your life, the things you'd like to get rid of. Think about the creeping charlie. (We are sure that the creeping charlie marks us as undesirable homeowners.) Think about the dandelions and the creeping charlie, the people you have marked as troublesome, bad influences, the wrong political party, the wrong ethnic group, too poor, too rich, lazy, sinful, greedy.

God loves them. Keeps creating them. Jesus died for them. He thinks they are beautiful, and have a purpose in life, to be redeemed and rejoiced over.

Of course, I didn't tell the children all this.

But it's all true.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It's a good message. I wonder how many of the children will continue picking dandelions this week.

You know, I thought of another point to all this. I have a terriible crop of dandelions--it must drive the neighbors crazy--because I think the chemicals needed to control them are harmful to the environment.

I wonder if it isn't often that way when we try to get rid of the "dandelions" in our lives too. The methods we choose can be pretty toxic. Love and learning to see the positive are much better approaches.

Diane said...

oh ruth, you are so right! thinking deeply about how we deal with enemies, such as war, and how toxic that is.

FranIAm said...

This is so beautiful Diane and it really feeds and heals me too. You have seen all the blather than I have been on about lately.

Dandelions indeed.

Thank you!

RevDrKate said...

This is really a good message and much food for thought as I ponder my lawn and my life with their great diversity of things that grow and creep and sprout.

Barbara B. said...

great thoughts for both children and adults!!! :)

Lindy said...

What a great sermon! I wish we could get that message out to all the children.

Anonymous said...

Very nice message indeed. There is beauty even in the undesirable and unwanted, and all are precious in God's sight.

As for the dandelions, I for one have always been sort of a fan of them. When my kids bring in a bouquet of dandelions and other weeds to my wife or me, I quickly remember how I did the very same thing for my parents years ago.

mompriest said...

I used to do that, offer children's sermons at outdoor services. It was always wildly unpredictable, as only kids can be. Good message, great visual...

also, checking in to see how you faired with the horrible weather in your area...?

Rev SS said...

Love this original reflection and those of commentors. I am constantly reminding myself that God loves "them" as much as God loves me -:)

Jan said...

The metaphor of "dandelions" is a good one. I want to get rid of them, but God creates them, too.