Snapdragon: Grace & Truth

Another of my favourite flowers is snapdragon, or antirrhinum, whose name derives from the Greek ἀντί (anti) "against, like", and ῥίς (rhis) "nose". The flowers resemble snouts or noses, as well as little dragon heads, which a well-aimed thumb and finger can open and close like a talking mouth. The Romans are probably responsible for spreading them beyond their native Spain and Italy, calling them leonis ora, or ‘lion mouth.’ The plants are generally annuals, meaning they live and die within the year, but the ones pictured survived the relatively mild 2018-19 winter and have produced another lovely crop of snapping dragon’s heads.

The flower is traditionally associated with two rather opposing concepts: deception (perhaps because of the flower’s ability to conceal something within itself) and graciousness (possibly because of its beauty and rich nectar offerings). It’s strange that grace and deceit should be so closely connected within the snapdragon. Deceit, though it might seem to be graciously communicated, is never gracious. Grace, though it might be ignored or misconstrued, is never false or duplicitous. The Lord Jesus, whom John chapter 1 tells us was “full of grace and truth” was often misunderstood and rejected. They called him a demoniac, a charlatan, a glutton, a deceiver. Each one of us must decide which He is- a deceiver worth ignoring, or the incarnate, gracious Creator who must be heard. 

Matthew 16: 13: When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”