Each spring for the last couple of years, I’ve watched (through the wonders of Facebook) an annual event that takes place at the home of some friends. It’s an amazing transformation that takes place as a plump yellow and black and white caterpillar attaches itself to the roof of a screened tank and wraps itself in a bright green chrysalis. While they (and the friends who follow them) wait, they reflect on things like spring and growth and transformation. After about 10 days, the chrysalis starts to change color and then becomes transparent and you can see the color and design of the wings. Eventually, the shell of the chrysalis splits and the new butterfly slowly emerges. It clings to the chrysalis and unfolds its wings. Then it ever so gently, starts to move those wings up and down. After all the new butterflies have emerged, the family takes the tank out into their yard and they release the butterflies so they can enter the world as these new creations.
We are about to emerge out of a chrysalis that has held our transforming “body” for over a year. We will move carefully and slowly, taking our time to make sure that everyone is informed and we all participate in ways that will promote the safety and care of everyone. We will need to hang onto some of that chrysalis for a while as we slowly move our wings to make sure we’re ready for flight when the time is right.
When we emerge from that which has held us safe for all this time, we will be different. We will still be the church but we will “look” different. The way we engage our mission and ministry will be different but it will still be the mission and ministry to which God has called us. The way we live into community will be different but we will still be the body of Christ.
Because of this amazing transformation that butterflies go through, they have long been a symbol for resurrection. What existed before dies and emerges as something very different. It’s a reminder of just how creative God is, how innovative the Creator is, how resilient the Holy Spirit is. Emerging is both exciting and a bit frightening. There are a lot of questions that we don’t quite know how they will be answered. We don’t even know if we are asking the best questions. So, we will lean with faith into the creative, innovative, resilient One, listen to good wisdom and emerge into the new life that awaits us. May the transforming be amazing!