Sunday, January 15, 2012
Tender Mercies and Dragons
Ok... following are not generally considered to be tender mercies, but today, I found a couple fun things that have reminded me that God sends tender mercies in all forms.
We woke up to a small amount of snow on the ground. It really wasn't much. It would be stretching it to even call it an inch of snow. Lilli was excited and bouncing around the house. Snow is so rare around here. Hannah seemed to enjoy it too. I confess, it is pretty. McKay surprised me. Her usual m-o is to be super excited and to immediately call Grandpa to tell him, "we got snow!" Instead, she brushed it off and was rude to her sisters. Grrr.... (So far I'm not impressed with her visit from her friend. A significant other should bring out the best in you, not you best sarcasm, rude remarks and your best impression of my-family-is-so-weird-and-embarrassing. I'll come back to that later).
In Sacrament meeting the talks were rather short. I looked like we were going to get out of the meeting early. I leaned over to John, Lilli between us, and whispered, "I hope they come up with a way to stall and come up with something to do." Lilli piped up, "I know!WE could have a snowball fight." It would have made Sacrament Meeting a meeting to remember.
Actually, I was distracted by the second talk. It was based on the talk from Conference about looking up. I didn't really listen to the rest of the meeting. I was obsessing with the story of Moses putting a snake on a stick and many dies because they refused to look up.
I have to confess. I don't like snakes much... well, not at all. As a kid, I used to dream about falling into a pit of sleeping snakes or that I was in a house that was build over a den of snakes and we couldn't figure out how to get them to stop coming in. I blame Indiana Jones for those dreams. I worked a couple summers at an outdoor theater my last year in college and for a few years after graduation. I had a couple of experiences there with snakes. One time we saw the audience do this wave thing in the middle of the act. It turned out that a 6 foot rattle snake was slithering down the row. A different night I was walking up the hill to open the light booth and concession stand. I heard the distinctive sound of a rattle snake. I screamed and grabbed the closest stick I could find. I then commenced in beating the 12 inch baby rattle snake to it's timely demise. The area snake wrangler laughed at me. It seems the snake died from biting it's lip rather than from my beating... but my beating did brake it's skull enough to get it to bite itself.
For these reasons, along with my extreme sense of loathing, have caused me to wonder why did God choose to use a serpent to symbolise the Savior?
Serpents are yucky!
I was pondering it today in Sacrament meeting and the image of Satan, a serpent, in the garden of Eden, came to my mind. Ah-ha! In that case Satan was imitating the Savior... in an effort to persuade Eve to follow him.
Then my mind jumped to Chinese Dragons. I know. Weird. But go with me.
Chinese Dragons are symbols of wealth, wisdom, power and nobility. Dragons in Chinese culture, unlike the Western dragons, are not depicted as enemies to be defeated. They are wise and welcoming and a sign that good things will happen. Chinese dragons have the body of a serpent, the claws of an eagle, the legs of a tiger, the whiskers of a catfish,
the antlers of a deer, and the scales of a fish.
Now that kind of serpent I could find interesting. Look at all the cool symbolism! Serpent to show strength and flexibility; eagles symbolise power and protection and their claws symbolise work that is done; tigers are swift and the use of the legs in dragons could symbolise how swiftly God acts in our behalf; I can't figure out why the whiskers, I will have to keep pondering that one; antlers often symbolise gentleness and unconditional love in some circles; fish scales are like armor, representing the protection God offers.
Often we find dragons together with the Chinese Phoenix. The Phoenix is also a creature from Chinese mythology and symbolizes good luck, peace, kindness and glory.
Now remember, these are my own thoughts based on different things I've read about symbolism in different cultures. However, it makes so much sense!
Then my mind drifted to a friend who has had an experience seeing two dragons, one white with kind loving eyes and one black, angry and violent, competing for her soul.
When I add all that together I understand better that Christ can be called a serpent. Satan can be called a serpent, but a serpent imitating the One with real power.
All that makes it easier to accept a serpent as the healing that Israel needs.
The crazy thing is... all Israel had to do was look up.
I bet you were wondering where I was going with all that dragon talk. I was really coming up with an understanding, for myself.
Seems so simple. Too simple, really.
I think I will look for more dragons. Made I should suggest we watch Neverending Story for FHE. I can then look for more symbols of serpents!
It's snowing again. I hope that it snows enough to let us make a snowman in the morning.