A butterfly is a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. Of course, this makes Jesus before he died into a caterpillar! But there is some mileage in using a butterfly to convey the coming back to life of Jesus on that Sunday: the caterpillar turning into a chrysalis and then emerging from its ‘tomb’ into a beautiful, no longer earth bound, butterfly.
Blues are my favourite butterflies and I’m hoping on the dunes there may be some of the rarer blues. If you are a butterfly spotter, please tell me what butterflies I can expect to see in Hightown.
Like most symbols, butterflies to signify the resurrection only give partial information. Jesus came back from the dead to die no more. Butterflies once they emerge only eat sugars. They don’t eat protein so can’t repair their bodies and therefore they don’t live for very long. Nor does the butterfly symbol suggest the emotions around what happened that weekend of the first Easter. After Jesus was crucified on the Friday we call Good, his followers and friends were devastated. Crucifixion was a dreadful death and the Romans saved it for those who not only did they want to kill but also shame and discredit.
The next day, the Saturday, his disciples must have felt angry, and utterly let down. They had given up their jobs and for three years had followed Jesus. This now must have seemed totally pointless. So when the few people who went to Jesus’ tomb and saw his body wasn’t there and they were told that he is ‘risen’, there was confusion and not understanding. Butterflies may emerge from a chrysalis but people don’t emerge from death.
Except Jesus did rise from the dead and his disciples saw him and became changed people. Perhaps they too went from the earth bound caterpillars, scared and frozen in their behaviour to knowing Jesus and undergoing a butterfly like transformation into caring, loving people willing to live for the rest of their lives telling others about Jesus.
On Easter Sunday, we too will celebrate this transformation from being earth bound to heaven bound. We will hear the good news that we too can be lifted from our obsessions and self-servicing to follow Jesus knowing our ultimate home is in heaven and in the meantime to be given his power and direction - to be the people we should be.
May you know his power to change you to the person you wish to be. And Happy Butterfly Spotting!