Some weeks ago, I looked around and suddenly everything was green! The trees had leafed out and everything was different. Along with the leaves on the trees, I also suddenly had grass growing in my yard at home, and in our big lovely green lawn at the church. We have a big lovely lawn, and a small cadre of dedicated church members who take turns mowing.
One day during the early days of this new greenness, I wanted to speak to one of the lawn mowers, who was out on the riding mower making a loop around the church. It looked like he was almost done so I waited for him, and as I waited I noticed a patch of dandelions that had not yet been cut down.
I know some people don’t like these sturdy little balls of life, but I have a soft spot in my heart for them. They are ordinary and extraordinary. On the one hand, they are as common place as mud. But if you look at them, closely, they have a lavishly complex structure. They are not prized, but they are tenacious. If you cut them down their seeds will spread in the wind and they will pop up even more widely.
Sometimes when I am mired deep in the details of my work—figuring out a complicated statistical analysis for our governing body, the presbytery, maybe—I think, probably Jesus did not mean for the kingdom of heaven to be this complex. He intended for us to take care of the earth, and take care of each other, and to spread that kind of love and compassion gently and genuinely. Like the dandelions.
There is a wonderful poem by Wendell Berry, the farmer/poet of Kentucky. It’s a long poem (you can read the whole thing here) about resisting the lure of materialism and living closer to the earth. Its closing line is a simple invitation which the dandelions embody so well, and which I offer in grace to you: