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The Teeth (and Claws) of the Lion

“May we dig up dandelions in your yard?”



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.*


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.”


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


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.


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

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