Thursday, May 5, 2016
Order of le Dent de Lyon – 5 May 2016, Anno Domini
10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. (Song 2:10-13)
“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer,” Shakespeare in Richard The Third Act 1, scene 1, 1–2a. There are seasons of the climate, of national or religious fervor, and of life itself. We often view advancing age as the appearance of the frozen and leafless branches of the trees of Winter. But every Winter has its Spring and Summer – even the Winter of our lives. I never cease to be amazed at God’s creative demonstrations of life at the coming of Spring. After all, Spring was the time of the Ark of Noah settling atop Ararat; it was the time of the Passover Feast in the wilderness, and until this very day; and it was the time of the resurrection of our Lord bursting the gates of the tomb for all who follow in His trail. So our hopes and joys are renewed with the coming of each Spring upon the earth.
My wife, Debbie, and I walk early in the morning each day. Though my wife grows many flowers in her gardens at home, she also loves to see and to touch the wild flowers that mark the neighborhood in which we walk. There is one precious little self-made garden of wild flowers at one point in our route. It is pleasantly situated on a sloping and grassy shoulder of a school parking lot. No one planted it there – at least not with human hands. It grew by happenstance and by the Hand of God. The flowers are purple myrtle growing around a small base of perhaps four feet in diameter. There is foliage of rich green filling the entire plot, and, looking over it all are several stalks of the Dent de Lyon (French for ‘tooth of the Lion’) or Dandelion in English. The dandelion has just begun to bloom with its rich golden petals starkly erect over this little Garden of the Lord. Every morning, we must stop and admire this little garden and observe the many remaining buds to see if they are about to bless us with a big smile.
The dandelion has long held a special place in my heart since childhood. When I was a toddler, my older sister used to hold a flower of the dandelion under my chin to see if I “liked butter.” If the yellow of the flower was reflected on my chin, she said that meant that I liked butter. The point of that practice has been lost in antiquity. (*__~) But the dandelion is truly an amazing little plant. It requires nothing from man to flourish. It will grow anywhere it seems. They are all too plentiful in coastal regions of southern Alabama, and they grow well in the climates of the Scandinavian countries as well. I have also seen them blooming along the wad i’s of old Persia (Iran). They are tough and rugged plants. I believe the Dandelion best describes the fervent Christian who will prosper in spirit no matter the climate or condition of his existence. He has become a Christian – not by the cultivation of man – but rather by a call from his Lord.
Of course, there are many more dandelions along the path that we walk besides the little garden remarked upon. But the amazing and joyful characteristic of every one of their beautiful yellow-gold flowers is that they all face in the direction of the rising sun. They are fixed upon the source of their life and health. Christians, too, are fixed upon the Sun of Righteousness and the brightest Star in their heaven. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3)
Interestingly, the dandelion has been found to offer many health benefits, not to mention the fact that fine wine that gives comfort to the distressed heart can be made therefrom. A soothing tea can be made from the root of the dandelion that aids in digestion and also to alleviate certain kinds of arthritic pain. The green leaves also contain vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron (crucial for generating red blood cells), potassium (to help regulate heart rate and blood pressure), and manganese. Other nutrients present in dandelion greens include folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
The committed Christian thrives where he is planted just as does the dandelion. But how is the dandelion planted. They are planted by the winds of God just as the Christian is planted by those same winds of the Holy Ghost. At maturity, the dandelion forms spheres of hundreds of little parasol-shaped parachutes. They are very light and are carried far and wide by the wind. So are Christians carried to the remote reaches of the earth in propagating the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)
Most organisms require cross-polinization to reproduce, but not the dandelion. “They are capable of producing viable seed without need of cross-fertilization, a process known as ‘apomixis’. The resulting progeny, also capable of apomixis, are basically clones of the parent plant. Most of the seed production in Dandelions is due to this process. In other words, how many Dandelions does it take to cover your entire lawn? Only one, given a little time. Aren’t Christians to be clones of Christ? Are we not chips of stone off the Great Rock of our Salvation – Jesus Christ? Do we require more than one of us to reproduce faith by the grace of God’s Holy Word and Spirit? Was not one Man, Jesus, the progenitor of our rebirth to newness of life?
There is another beautiful characteristic of the dandelion that escapes notice unless one is trying to rid their yards of the plant – the root! I almost said root ‘system’ but that would be misleading. There is not really a root system since the dandelion root has no branches. It delves in singular form to the depths of the earth seeking water of life and nutrition for its living. Here again may a parallel be drawn to the Christian. Like the great Desert Palm Tree, or the willow by the river, the Christian sinks his root down to whatever depth is necessary to acquire the Water of Life. The minerals and other nutrients constitute his Bread of Life. Water and Bread are both necessary. Our Lord is the Bread of Life, and His word is the cleansing Water of Life. But these alone are not sufficient – we must be armed with unbounded faith of the Light of the World that brightens our hearts and souls. That, too, is our Lord Jesus Christ – our Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2), our Bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16b), and the Brightest Light in our Heaven: We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)
The root of the dandelion is a single root without branches. Christ, too, is a singular Lord possessing the fullness of the Godhead in His Person. He is the Root of our Faith, and He has no subordinate branches. Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David. (Rev 5:5) He is not the ROOTS, but the ROOT. He is the Branch! Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. (Jer 23:5) He is the ROOT! He is the BRANCH! And He is the VINE from which we draw our sustenance! I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (John 15:1) If we are either the natural limbs, or even the grafted ones, to the Branch and vine, should we not produce the fruit that characterizes the nature of the VINE?
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:2-8)
One other critical point about the lowly dandelion – it is disdained and hated by men. It is almost impossible to eradicate due to the winds that continually blow in more of its parasols into the environment. They are cursed at and hated of men. But God has planted them and they add beauty and purpose to His Creation – just as the hated Christian who depends not upon the religions of the world, or the works of man for their fruit.
Are you a Christian now of the Order of le Dent de Lyon?