Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dandelion fluff

This next might be an appropriate piece to throw in here. The core of this is a tidbit I wrote while waiting for a flight from Edmonton, Alberta back to the Twin Cities in late March of this year. I had been teaching for two weeks at the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute (CLBI), a college-level school in Camrose that has been making disciples and equipping people to make disciples for many decades now. It was my privilege to teach a Spiritual Formation class for 28 second year students who were anticipating that within a couple months the Spirit would blow them on the wind.

Going Home: Dandelion Fluff

We talked yesterday in class about dandelions. I thought how these students are like the bloom on a dandelion, that blossoms and grows and sends down deep roots into the soil in a place, then one night closes and reopens transformed, and each facet of that blossom -- which to us looks like one thing but is really a multitude of flowers clustered together at the head of a milky, hollow stalk -- turns to an aerial acrobatic seed, and as the wind comes up it is loosed from its moorings and borne aloft on the breath of heaven, flying, flying to a destination unknown.

So these students -- and in some sense myself -- are transformed and loosed and soon will be flying where the Spirit leads, to settle to earth again and to take root, dying to self in that new place and producing a new cluster of blossoms that look like one flower but are really multiple blooms clustered together to create new aerial seeds.

So I look back on many flyings, many moves, many rootings and wonder about the multiple places I have put down roots. The farm where I grew up. The Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle. Fargo, North Dakota. Port Orchard, Washington. Roseville, Minnesota. Luther Seminary. Williston, North Dakota. In each place I have suffered the illusion of permanence and at some point bowed to the Spirit’s blowing, released to fly and put down roots elsewhere.

Sometimes -- and my life is getting more and more like this now that I have lived here longer than anywhere other than the farm where I spent my childhood -- being blown from place to place is not so much about geography as it is about being blown from one stage of life to the next. I watch my girls grow up and get independent and see my odometer rolling over lots more miles and realize I am headed into a whole new stage of life. God is faithful, and just like moving from one place to another, he is already there, already working, already doing what only he can do.

The transformation, the power doesn’t belong to us. We are just cracked pots that migrate from place to place, time to time, carrying for a short time a cargo dictated by his lordship, not our own. We are exiles, aliens, sojourners here, and our citizenship is not of this world.

“You are a king, then?”

“You say I am a king. But my kingdom is not of this world. If it was of this world, my followers would fight.”

Following such a king, whose kingdom is not of this world, we are cautious about holding too tight to the roots we think we have put down.

Dandelion fluff. Chaff on the wind.

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