As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will to seek post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer
Monday 18th May 2020
The Reflection is by Fred Coutts
‘Lion’s teeth and the future’
I have a love hate relationship with dandelions. One part of me loves the yellow speckled verges at this time of year as the dandelions thrust their heads up to the sun. The dandelion clock seed heads are delicate things of beauty and bring back memories of blowing the seeds away and counting to find the time. The other part of me hates to see them growing in my grass or in the borders. This week I have been down on my knees on the grass howking them out, at least as much of them as I can manage. But the roots go deep, and any gardener will tell you that if you don’t get the whole root out they will come again and again.
As I was thinking about this I saw a picture on Facebook posted by a friend that celebrated the dandelion.
It has been well said that a weed is simply a plant growing in the wrong place. The wildflowers are blooming beautifully at this time of year. I have watched their arrival on my daily walks with the dogs. The daffodils may be past now, but the bluebells are out and the delicate pink lady smocks. I have watched one lonely red campion gradually growing and blooming on a path by the Water of Cruden. Further afield the cliff tops are a-bloom with primroses and the tiny violets, as the thrift and red campion take over and turn the cliff edges pink.
And then there are the dandelions in their rightful place on the verges and the rough ground.
Just think about the dandelion root, deep in the ground, drawing nourishment and resisting being pulled up. How often have we said during these strange days, “What will the future bring for us or our church?” The dandelion root will give us hope for the future. Our faith rooted deep into the love of God, a love that cannot be undone or taken away. I have the firm belief that when the time is right and the world returns to some sort of normality our church will grow again like the dandelions which appear every year without fail at this time of year.
Then there are the magical seed heads, the joy of so many children (and adults too?). Perhaps the gardeners dread to see the seeds blowing in the wind, each one with the promise of a new dandelion plant. Where will the wind blow the little seeds from our church? Our church building may be closed just now, but the church is alive and well as we seek to serve our master where we have been placed. Who knows what seeds of faith will grow as people reflect on the meaning of life from their locked-down homes and see the followers of Jesus living faithful and loving lives. In these strange days we have the promise of a new start and new growth when the world returns to some sort of normality. Our church will be different; perhaps it will grow in new ways and new places but like the dandelion it will grow again when the time is right.
The blaze of yellow dandelion flowers draws the eye in the sunshine, the flowers opening out in the light and turning their heads to the sun. We have the promise that if we turn ourselves to the light that shines from Jesus we will blossom and grow., even in hard time and in places where the going is tough. Dandelions don’t need fine soil to grow! We don’t need to wait for the pandemic to be over. Now is the time! God’s people will be seen caring and sharing and folk will be drawn to them and the one on whom they put their trust.
The English name Dandelion comes from the medieval French dent de lion (tooth of the lion) which is a reference to the sharp, jagged edges of the plant’s leaves. Just think of the firm grip that a lion will takes with its teeth. No prey will escape. I leave you with this thought: there is no escaping the love of God which is with us always, even at the time when we feel confused, or lonely or depressed. God will hold on to us always.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
Do not worry
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?
What are the roots of your faith? What nourishment do you draw from your faith?
I arise today
through a mighty strength:
God’s power to guide me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s eyes to watch over me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to give me speech,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to shelter me,
God’s host to secure me.
St Bridget of Kildare (452-524)
We wonder at the beauty of the world,
at the colours of the flowers growing all on their own by the roadside.
You have set the path before us
but in these difficult times we have wandered on our own
to try to find our way.
Sometimes we are like toddlers
and we hear your call and come back.
Other times, we are children testing boundaries,
ignoring your call until fear finally makes us look back.
And still other times we are full of youthful rebellion,
demanding to be cut loose and set free,
not knowing how much we still need
to seek Your wisdom and guidance.
But most of all, too often we think we are adults
and think we have worked it all out and know our own way,
only to stumble and stray so far.
Remind us, loving God,
that we are always your children,
that we are never fully grown up in your sight,
that we always have so much to learn.
Help us to seek you every day,
to acknowledge that we need Your wisdom and guidance,
and help us to return to your path and walk with you.
In the name of Christ,
who is our companion on this journey of faith.
Help us to turn our thoughts to those who especially need our prayers.
Those who know little else but sadness.
Those whose lives are filled with regrets and heartbreaks.
Those who feel they are struggling against life’s difficulties and disappointments
alone and uncared for.
The despair of the homeless people safe for the moment in hotels,
but not knowing what the future will hold for them.
The feelings of concern felt by family members who cannot see their children and grandchildren.
The worries and fears of those in hospitals or care homes
The tireless work of those who care and support them.
And for ourselves and our loved ones
That your love will surround us this day and every day.
Lift up your eyes! Look around.
Where does our help come from?
Our help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
God will not let you stumble and fall;
the one who watches over you
will never slumber or sleep.
God will keep you safe from all of life’s evils;
from your first breath to the last breath you breathe,
from this day forward and forever.
May you know peace,
to love and serve God and your neighbours!
Christ is made the sure foundation.