1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not fear, for I am with you; -Isaiah 43:1-5, NRSV
In this season of coronavirus, it has become a regular bright spot in our new daily routine. Each afternoon that the sun is shining, after I’ve finished my work and the kiddos have completed their school assignments, Noah and Ellie and I head outside so they can ride their bikes. Noah has recently learned to ride without training wheels, you see (and he couldn’t be prouder of himself), so at the moment, he can’t get enough of life on two wheels. Ellie flies after him on her tricycle, never quite keeping up… but never giving up, either.
As they make their laps on our now-empty streets, they stop whenever they see a small patch of dandelions. They grab one colorful flower after another and bring them back to me. “Look, mama! I brought you a flower!” they say.
When I was a little girl, I loved picking dandelion bouquets for my mom. I would gather them together with my tiny little fingers and arrange them in little cups and vases of water, placing them all around the kitchen. I thought they were beautiful, and my mom said she thought they were beautiful, too.
Then someone on the school bus told me they weren’t really flowers. “Of course they’re flowers,” I said. “They’re dandelions. They’re pretty and yellow and they have petals. They’re flowers.”
“No,” she replied. “They’re just weeds. They’re not flowers at all.” I was upset by that… until I decided that I didn’t agree and furthermore didn’t care, and I continued to pick bright yellow little bouquets of dandelions for my mom.
I’m sure botanists and horticulturists and seasoned gardeners can give a whole host of reasons why these pretty yellow flowers are actually backyard pests, but I’ve never understood it. Furthermore, I still don’t care. I don’t mind a yard full of dandelions. I don’t feel a need to “weed” them. They’re pretty and cheerful, and that’s enough for me. And when my children pick them for me and lovingly place them in my hands… after that, how could anyone call them “weeds”? It seems to me that “weeds” might just be in the eye of the beholder.
I believe that as human beings, we are creatures of incredible, sacred, eternal worth. Yet at the same time, I also believe that as human beings, we are creatures who are broken, flawed, and sinful. A lesser God might have looked upon all of our flawed, broken sinfulness and decided that we weren’t worth the trouble, that we were just “weeds”… but we don’t worship a lesser God. We worship the God of heaven and earth, the God who looks at all of our brokenness – all of our “weediness” – and sees something more.
God looks at us like my mom used to look at those little dandelion bouquets I would pick for her as a child. She looked at that bouquet of weeds and saw something precious and beautiful. I think God sees something precious in our “weediness,” too. I think God sees something beautiful there. Something worth redeeming. Something so worth redeeming that God would choose to come and live among us, and die on a cross, and rise on the third day, all to be closer to a bunch of weeds like us.
So as the weather turns warm and the dandelions begin to pop up uninvited, let’s stand in awe of the God who created them in the first place. Let’s give thanks to the God who sees us as precious and full of potential, beautiful and beloved. Let’s praise the God who loves us more than we can comprehend.
And as we do, may we hold fast to this truth:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
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