There is a churchyard in central North Carolina, roughly an hour east of Charlotte, where, in early spring, the lawn is sewn entirely in dandelions. I don’t know if these dandelions were cultivated intentionally, but one of my greatest regrets is that I never stopped my car, just for one minute, to run through the seed heads.
What if I had? What if I had pulled over and hadn’t let the awkwardness of running through someone else’s yard stop me? What if I had let the joy of spring spread out behind me like a fluffy, wind-born shadow?
But what if I had?
Perhaps those seeds would still be floating...
a blizzard of life.
Jesus, son of man, didn’t have a Christian worldview. He didn’t worry about doctrine. He was a teacher of wild love. You don’t see Jesus standing in carefully manicured gardens with tweezers and a packet of seeds, dolling out abundance and growth in carefully curated lines. Jesus was a dandelion runner. Who needs love?
And, after two millennia, we are still watching his fluff-love settle and grow, disrupting our carefully manicured lives. Why? Because person by person, year by year, souls, bearing the same spark of the Christ, filled their lungs with Spirit-breath and blew. Julian of Norwich, Hans von Balthasar, Henri Nouwen, Thomas R. Kelly, Sister Salvinette, and you, you, YOU!
The thing about dandelions is that each seed doesn’t go far. At most, across the fence to your neighbor’s yard. But once it is there, its little sunny face opens, greets the sky, and gives itself up to seed. That is the power of Jesus’s commandment to love our neighbor. If Jesus had said, “The greatest commandment is to stop hunger, abuse, injustice, and war,” his followers would have been impressed, but his movement would have stopped there with a bunch of burnt out, disillusioned, disappointed disciples. Jesus knew that the breath of God doesn’t need to move like a hurricane to spread love and abundance, it simply needs to be breath. Enough to reach across the fence to this neighborhood with these neighbors...The neighborhood is my parish, whether my neighbors become Methodists or not. What matters is that they experience the kingdom of God coming near, and that they know it is a kingdom of love.*
I can choose not to love my neighbor and I can choose to kill the dandelions, but what if don’t. What if, instead, we stopped for a moment to see the possibility in a dandelion sprouting in our neighbor’s yard.
Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:
- Take a walk around your neighborhood or community and look for dandelions or other gifts from God’s creation.
- Allow a spirit of wonder to fill you as you contemplate how many ways the Spirit can move with one simple breath.
- If Jesus gave you one task: to love yourself and others, how can your breath be love to the world?