The Teeth (and Claws) of the Lion

“May we dig up dandelions in your yard?”

 “Please?”

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My grandmother always asked permission, and, of course, we always said, “Yes.”  Who wouldn’t be happy to have someone uproot weeds from your yard?

Grandma and Grandpa weren’t offering to help because they were embarrassed by the weedy condition of our lawn–they planned to cook and eat the dandelion greens. I assume they acquired a taste for them from their parents and grandparents. I, however, found it hard to believe any part of a dandelion could be flavorful until I read Euell Gibbons’ Stalking the Wild Asparagus and experimented with a spring salad of dandelion greens, lambs’ quarters, and violet leaves.*

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The secret is to gather the dandelion greens before the plant blossoms (before the leaves turn bitter), so you need to be able to identify the dandelion by its jagged, incisor-tooth-shaped leaves. The French phrase dent de lion, tooth of (a) lion” is the source of our English word “dandelion.”

So is the dandelion a weed or desirable plant? Do you consider it a nuisance in your grassy lawn or see it as a nutritious food source?

The dandelion was certainly more highly thought of in the past. It was so prized that Europeans intentionally brought it to the New World. Imagine a time before neighborhood grocery stores were stocked with spinach and kale, when there were no bottled vitamin supplements. Those who were feeling ill in late winter due to vitamin deficiencies were advised to eat the vitamin-rich dandelion and often improved. Europeans also used the plant to treat a wide variety of ailments, from fevers to fluid retention, from warts to the plague, and so the common dandelion was given the botanical name taraxacum offincinale, meaning “the official remedy for disorders.”

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We live in a world today that has rejected the dandelion and considers it a wild and unwanted weed.

We live in a world that has rejected more than just dandelions. It dismisses Jesus as an unwanted weed. Our post-Christian world has rejected the God who is Himself “the official remedy for disorders” and who has the ultimate healing power over our sin sickness.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;  Mark 12:10   NIV

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We live in a world that has (in part) rejected God because He comes with “teeth.” We cannot contain or always explain Him. He is not a “tame lion.”

 God is the lion of Judah.

Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David’s Tree, has conquered. Rev. 5:5   MSG

In the C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the tiresome, dragon/boy Eustace tells Edmund about his encounter with the huge lion,  Aslan.

I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. . . . The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the [dragon] skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab off a sore place. It hurts like billy — oh but it is such fun to see it coming away. . .

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off. . . And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me — I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.

Our God, like Aslan, is the lion who roars, the lion with sharp teeth and claws. And he is the Lion who heals.

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He forgives your sins—every one.
    He heals your diseases—every one.
    He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
    He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
    He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
    He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

Psalm 103:3-5   MSG

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* If you decide to try a new-to-you food like dandelion, be careful of allergies and drug interactions. Be sure to correctly identify plants and find out whether the area has been sprayed with chemicals. Wash greens thoroughly.

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also linked with Words With Winter at Me,Coffee and Jesus

Posted on August 21, 2015, in Devotional and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Constance,
    What an interesting history of dandelions; Thanks…and the connection to the Lion of Judah and how He does heal, though the process, as Eustace and others can attest, can be painful at first…grateful for how He does heal🙂

    • The pain that’s often involved in the healing process can sometimes make me question whether I want to be well. I’ve read again this week the story of Jesus healing the invalid at the Bethesda Pool. “Do you want to get well?” He asked. I need to keep my sights on the end purpose of the process and be thankful (as you’ve said) for however and whenever the healing comes.

  2. Love the way you developed this thesis – and yes, sad to say, Jesus is treated as an unwanted weed, especially in public universities (I used to teach at one, a very demoralizing experience).

    I’m your neighbour at Weekend Whispers.

    And living in the New Mexico high desert, I have not seen a dandelion since I know not when.

    • Thanks, Andrew, for taking the time to read and leave a thoughtful comment. I would gladly share a few seeds with you, but it seems your area doesn’t receive enough rainfall for dandelions to grow. : )

      • Most years, that’s true…but this year we’ve got the ‘benefits’ of El Nino. Tumbleweeds are growing like crazy. But every time we’ve tried to plant something (my wife is from Indiana) the local weeds either take it over, or that patch of soil suddenly becomes completely infertile. New Mexico goes its own way,I guess.

      • New Mexico has its own kind of beauty, even if it doesn’t have dandelions.

  3. such a lovely post.

  4. I love your real life connections and today was no different. My heart hurts knowing the world seeks to discard Jesus as a weed much like we do with the dandelions growing in or yards. We tend to throw away the things that could be the most beneficial for us without even thinking twice about it. Praying we may all see Jesus as our redeemer and healer in all things. Blessed you linked this up at Weekend Whispers.

    • Thank you so much, Mary. Yes, I agree with your prayer that we see Jesus as the Great Physician, even when the healing process is painful. May we realize how precious our Savior is, regardless of what the world thinks of Him.

  5. As I often say, “Life Gets Complicated!” When I was a kid, those same flowers were part of our lives. Being in towns now, it is especially necessary to break them down. BUT when out in the roads or the farm areas to see things, they are still the way they were when I was a kid. Now I’m 70, but back then when I was in my 20s or 30s this was not such a big deal. Oh, well. Sure loved your pictures. Filled will reality. Thank you.

    • Thanks for stopping by to read and comment,and I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I remember gathering bouquets of dandelions as a child. There were always plenty to pick to put in a vase and to make chains or crowns of the flowers.

  6. I so enjoyed this from beginning to end! I read an article a while ago about how dandelion root is being tested for cancer cures – and I thought – how sometimes the world wants to get rid of what’s best for us:) Thank you for sharing your story – and your wise words!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Maryleigh. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave such kind words.
      I hadn’t heard of the cancer research–very interesting. Dandelion greens are high in Vitamin A and C and magnesium (among other nutrients), so I shouldn’t be surprised if there are beneficial compounds in the root, too.

  7. The official remedy for disorders! Yes, that is our Jesus! Love this so much! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Enjoyed stopping by from #TellHisStory to read your post! Loved how you tied dandelions to the Lion of Judah.

  9. How interesting! I knew people ate dandelion greens, but didn’t know much else about it. We don’t have many in our yard because the previous owner took such good care, but after a few years of our lawn care, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of salads growing on our 2 acres! Thanks for linking!

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