July 25, 2021
This past week I was given a front row seat, by two different people connected to this congregation, to a summer miracle that is happening in fields all around us. One person has been working on this hobby for three years now, while the other, was babysitting for a fellow neighbor friend. And of all things, she was babysitting eggs, growing into larvae’s (caterpillars.)
These caterpillars are being fed a constant diet of milkweed leaves, and they eat and excrete, grow and eat and excrete. The caterpillars have a beautiful color scheme of white and yellow and black bands. They will grow by shedding their skin five times, before they enter the next stage of attaching themselves to a hanging surface. This is when they form a green bean like shell around themselves called a pupa or chrysalis. Along the top third of the hanging green bean is a circle of gold dots. Inside that pupa or chrysalis, in 12 to 16 days, the transformation takes place before your very eyes. When the chrysalis turns dark green and finally into a transparent shell, there comes a crack and a tear, and out drops a caterpillar with bright orange and black wings. The monarch butterfly is born. It has left its old self behind and has been transformed into a dazzling flying wonder. I was astounded at the kind of excitement it brought to the babysitters and the person who has been nursing monarchs now for three years.
All of this is happening every day, right under our noses, in milkweeds in a ditch or field near you. It made me think of the transformation when someone first tastes the sweetness of the grace of Jesus Christ, or the fullness of God’s love, or the transformation of the Holy Spirit. There are times when we may feel our lives worthless, low and grating, worm like. Sin can do that to us. Then the wind of God’s spirit gets hold of us and attaches us to the milk of the gospel, and forms a shell around us where something inside of us changes and we become freed. That’s what the forgiveness of sins can do to us. They can unlock chains and relieve us of burdened weight, only to have God’s Spirit grow us wings that we never knew were possible.
I want to thank Karen (Jim) Neerhof and Tina and Ken Russwurm for allowing me to witness this most amazing event. Watching it happen left all of us giddy. I was even able to release a Monarch outdoors, flying and embracing God’s creation. That’s what living in the freedom of Christ, and the leading of God’s Spirit does. Like a monarch butterfly, it sets us free.