It’s that time of year. That time of year when we smile at the buds popping out on the trees, our lawns turning to a rich shade of green, the early spring flowers peeking out from their blankets of dirt, and the songs of birds filling the air, note by note. All these things started happening right on time according to the calendar, just in time for Easter. Yet, despite these normal occurrences in nature, our Easter Sunday this year felt far from normal, didn’t it? While we celebrated Jesus’ miraculous resurrection, we didn’t gather with our fellow church members to sing songs of praise together, we didn’t sit down with our extended families to share a meal and fellowship together. Easter still came as it does every year. We still serve a risen Savior, and He’s in the world today. We still feel gratitude for the sacrifice that He made for us. We still celebrate that freedom from sin; however, we didn’t feel as much freedom this year, did we? We might have felt lonely, trapped, or controlled, even. We likely missed hugs, smiles, food traditions, sharing stories and laughter, as we attempted to celebrate this glorious day behind the closed doors of our own homes, with limited numbers of people. For many of us, it just didn’t seem like Easter.
In Christian lore, a common symbol of Easter and the resurrection is the butterfly. The butterfly symbolizes new life and powerful transformations: an old life to a new one, a state of ignorance to awareness, a difficult time to something better. The metamorphosis that occurs within the cocoon ensures growth, as the old is shed before the new can emerge. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” In early Christianity, the butterfly was associated with the soul. Spiritual transformations continue onward after death, a rebirth into eternal life. This may be why butterflies are often symbolic for the passing of a loved one.
As we cocoon ourselves within the protection of our homes during this coronavirus season, I challenge us to hold onto hope; embrace hope as a caterpillar dreaming of becoming something new and beautiful. While we shelter at home, quarantining ourselves in isolation, change is happening, though we might not even notice it. Day by day, things may seem the same; but when all this closure is finally done, we might emerge as total transformations of ourselves. God is at work! He has not forgotten us. He has not gone quiet within the vast solitude of our homes. He has not left us to merely “get through this,” hopefully unscathed. Beloved, He is here, and He is doing a great work; yes, even amidst this seemingly unending trial. Hold onto that hope, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6). So let us take our cocoons and spin them into shelters of prayer and meditation, of scripture, spiritual books and devotionals. Let us tuck ourselves into the quiet rest of simply being with Him. Let us embrace the changes that His will imparts. And, when at last, we can break free from this seemingly dark time, may we find ourselves “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” (Romans 12:2a).
God our Creator who breathed life into us, continues to mold us and create us. He has a purpose for our transformation, and He carries us through a metamorphosis for His glory. And that life-change is bigger and more magnificent than we can ever imagine or hope for. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes, “You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” Thanks be to God, for His protection and His power to transform, while we yearn for the day that we can see ourselves in a new light, and wondrous creation in His eyes. As the familiar children’s song proclaims: “If I were a butterfly, I thank you Lord, for giving me wings.” May we spread our new wings and soar in the goodness of His love!
Pastor Kevin Heeres