As a butterfly soared overhead, one caterpillar said to the other, ‘You’ll never get me up in one of those things.’
Yet 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. For hours it will stand stretching and drying its wings, moving them slowly up and down, up and down. And then, before you know it, the butterfly glides aloft, effortlessly riding the currents of the air, alighting on flower after gorgeous flower, as if to show off its vivid colours to the bright blossoms.
The miracle of the butterfly never ceases to amaze me. Maybe it is because the butterfly is a living parable of the promise of resurrection.
On Easter morning the disciples saw Jesus’ graveclothes lying on the cold slab. 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 disciples. Later that day he 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.
Resurrection reminds us that for Christians, death is not the end. The gospel speaks of another certainty, life beyond the grave. Death is a beginning as well as an end, a fresh page as well as the close of a chapter. Though our loved ones may be lost for a time to us, they are never lost to God. His love continues to embrace them and his purpose extends beyond this mortal span. He is able to bring new life from beyond the grave. Grief, loss and despair give rise to new life, comfort and hope. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus there is victory over death. This the hope of Easter.
May you know the love, peace and joy of the risen Christ.