A Living Easter Parable
A Living Easter Parable
"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
I recently heard a story about two caterpillars watching a butterfly soar above them. One said to the other, "You’ll never get me up in one of those things!"
However, the time will come when that caterpillar will lose its urge to eat and he will instinctively begin to form a chrysalis around himself. The chrysalis will harden and by the looks of it, you’d think it is dead. But then spring comes, and the life inside that chrysalis begins to wiggle and move and it will begin to crack, and out emerges a beautifully-formed butterfly. It will stretch for hours, moving his wings up and down until suddenly, the butterfly floats away, seeming to ride the currents of the air. It will glide from flower to flower, showing off its vibrant colors to all.
I never lose my fascination of butterflies. Any time I see one, I have to stop what I’m doing and watch it float through the air to see where it will land next. To me, the butterfly is a living parable of the promise of the resurrection. Around the world, people view the butterfly as a representation of endurance, change, hope and life. The butterfly has a significant meaning to so many of us.
Long before Christ, Egyptians saw the similarity between the cloth wrappings of their mummies and the butterfly’s chrysalis. They used to place golden butterflies in their tombs as a symbol of resurrection, new life and immortality. As a Christian symbol of the resurrection, the butterfly disappears into the chrysalis and appears dead, but then emerges later far more beautiful and more powerful than ever before.
The three stages of the butterfly’s metamorphoses are symbolic of the three stages in the life cycle of Christ and the Christian.
~ First the caterpillar eats non-stop which reminds us of how in our normal, earthly life, we are often preoccupied with taking care of our physical needs. So many of us live each day thinking about our next meal – where we’ll eat, what we are hungry for. The caterpillar’s life also reminds us of Jesus’ life on earth.
~ Secondly, the caterpillar then "entombs" itself in what seems to be a lifeless cocoon, which portrays the crucifixion and burial of Jesus and the death of all humans.
~ Then the third and final stage is the appearance of a butterfly, with beautifully colored wings that has the ability to soar, which represents the resurrection into a new a glorious life, free of material concerns and restrictions.
Paul teaches us in the above scripture that "we will all be changed". The Christian hope is that our weak, mortal body will die and be raised into an indestructible, spiritual body that will have no temptation, sorrow, death or pain. Through death, our spirit will escape from all of the hardships and vulnerabilities of our mortal flesh.
To me, the butterfly is the perfect symbol of both the tomb Christ conquered and every Christian’s hope of their own rebirth.
Have a blessed Easter season!