There’s a metaphor of God as a loving parent… who when presented with dandelions from a child who doesn’t realize that they are weeds, treats them as if they were precious flowers anyway… because the parent loves the child and knows the child’s heart.
It’s a sweet and beautiful picture.
But I’m realizing that it’s not quite the most accurate.
Because the parent only loves the weeds because they come from the child.
Actually, they don’t really love the weeds at all… they love the child and the weeds are just tolerated and get to come along for the ride because of their association with the child.
The weeds are still just weeds to the parent. They aren’t transformed into their flower of choice. Their only value is in who presented them.
And there’s a lot of Christianity that goes in that vein. God loved his Son, who plucked us up as weeds, and so we get a free pass to sit around somewhere we totally don’t deserve to be.
And it’s a good metaphor… a reminder that we’re basically helpless messes that only get anywhere by God’s mercy.
But I think it misses a bit.
Because there’s a difference between mercy and pity.
There’s a difference between actually loving something, and putting up with something because you love someone associated with it.
To use the most generic verse “for God so loved the world…”, not “for God so loved his Son, that the world got to be tolerated by association.”
God actually likes dandelions.
Actually likes them. Actually wants them.
He’s not just putting up with them.
They actually are his favorite flower… if you gave him the choice between a vase of dandelions and a vase of roses, neither of which had the loaded emotions of being presented by a naive child, he would actually pick the dandelions.
He isn’t just putting up with us because we were presented by someone that he actually loved enough to give us a pass… he actually sent his kid out specifically to get dandelions.
He had other options. He could have sent him to get the roses that were the closest to perfect… who were in the right place in the flowerbed… the most well preened.
He preferred the dandelions.
He wanted dandelions.
He actually likes the dandelions.
He’s not just smiling because his son doesn’t know any better.
We are his choice. His first choice.