by Ken Rolheiser
We will rise but the cocoon has got to go

A butterfly soars overhead. One caterpillar says to the other, "You'll never get me up in one of those things.”

For every caterpillar the time comes when the urge to eat and grow subsides and he instinctively begins to form a chrysalis around himself. The chrysalis hardens and you'd think for all the world that the caterpillar is dead.

But one spring morning the life inside the chrysalis begins to writhe, the top cracks open, and a beautifully-formed butterfly emerges. Stretching and drying its wings, moving them slowly up and down, the butterfly glides aloft, riding the currents of the air, alighting on flower after gorgeous flower.

Somehow, the miracle of the butterfly never loses its fascination for us. Dr. Ralph Wilson poses this phenomenon of nature as a living parable of the promise of the Resurrection.

Dr. Wilson explains, on Easter morning the disciples saw Jesus' grave clothes lying on the cold slab, still wrapped round and round. Only the corpse was gone, much like an empty chrysalis deserted by a butterfly who has left to soar free. "He is risen as He said," an angel told the incredulous disciples.

Later that day Jesus appeared to the disciples, and then, over the course of the next few weeks, to as many as five hundred people at one time. Even "Doubting Thomas" didn't doubt for long that Jesus was really risen from the dead.

How do we achieve the risen body butterfly stage when the caterpillar in us traps us in the physical realm? What can break through the tough cocoon shell we weave about our mortality to protect us from what we do not know or understand?

A poem from an author unknown says: You can fly, but that cocoon has got to go. Only the power of Jesus and God’s love will break the cocoon to set us free.

To be a butterfly we must allow God to transform us. We must let the old self die and let God raise us to new life. We have to get past the You'll never get me up in one of those things stage.

If we are not flying in our Christian life, maybe it is because we are used to our caterpillar stage. We have become comfortable, and we say, “I can’t fly. I can’t break these habits.”

Maybe this is because we are looking at who we were before the cocoon, not at what we are now in Christ. If we are in Christ, we will see wings. Believers should never say “I can’t” where God has said “You can.”

Most of us have experienced the loss of a loved one through  death or the prospect of our own mortality through pain and suffering. We realize death as an enemy. But we are Christians.

The resurrection of Jesus proves that death is not the end. The empty tomb testifies to Easter morning’s triumph over mortality. We are an Easter people!

The mysteries of Easter are relived every spring. The sorrows of good Friday and death are real, but the loving act that will raise us up is also real. And Christ’s parting gift on Holy Thursday, his body and blood, remains with us and gives us life that will never end.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! God will raise from the dead those who believe in His Son.

(569 words)