Friday, April 22, 2011

Of transformation and resurrection!

Caterpillars turning into butterflies is an incredible thing to behold. Simply incredible. A couple of weeks ago, these itsy-bitsy little caterpillars arrived in a plastic jar complete with a food substance that looked like putty at the bottom.

They were not particularly appealing. In fact, they were just flat out ugly. And yet, they fascinated us.

For days, we eagerly checked on our caterpillars -- noting that what began as a project for the kindergartner rapidly consumed ALL of us -- as they seemingly doubled in size each night.

Then one day we woke to find each encased in his own chrysalis -- appearing for all the world to be absolutely dead. We gently transferred the disc where the little tombs were attached, to the wall of our butterfly garden as we eagerly anticipated their rebirth.

When we woke up Saturday morning to discover that one of the little tombs had split open and a beautiful butterfly was in our garden, we fought to get the best view. Then over the next couple of days,  we watched as the other three emerged from slumber as the most exquisite of creatures -- a butterfly!

We kept our little pets with us for a few days -- feeding them, talking to them and observing everything we could. But soon we knew we had to give them their freedom by releasing them into the sky. 

It was bittersweet. We knew the butterflies were better off soaring free, but man did our little Cate want to keep them here with her. As we have talked about them this week -- and we have talked about them a LOT -- I have been struck by the similarity with the transformation we witnessed and the transformation we celebrate this weekend.

Isaiah 53:2 foretold about the Messiah: "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." 

Much like the black, hairy, unappealing caterpillar, huh?

After Jesus was beaten, ridiculed and put to death by hanging on the cross, he was buried: "Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away." (Matthew 27:59-60)

Just like my Cate thought her caterpillars had died when she found them wrapped in their chrysalis form and hanging in the jar. 

And the best part of all: "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen just as he said." (Matt. 28:1-6)

"Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking..." (Mark 16:12)

"Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating..." (Mark16:14)

Risen and transformed -- scripture does not describe him, but my heart knows that he was more majestic than the butterfly.

And just like we had to release our transformed little creatures: 

"After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God." Mark 16:19

Happy Easter, my beloveds.