Rev. David Rommereim
During Lent, about 24 years ago, a young 3rd grader provided an image about Easter that remains powerful. The Sunday School teacher was talking about Good Friday and Easter. She was using the image of the caterpillar and the butterfly to signify resurrection. She used pictures of a fuzzy crawling caterpillar then a beautiful free flying Monarch butterfly. She asked the kids,"What happens to the caterpillar?" They all cheered, "It becomes a butterfly!" There was wild cheering and excitement, especially when the teacher surprised them with a live butterfly in a small-netted cage. They were going to release it outside after class.
Then a little boy from the corner raised his hand. He waited to be called on in all the excitement. The teacher turned to him and asked, "Yes Tommy, what is it you want to say?" He said, "Ms. Hines, the butterfly doesn't come after the caterpillar. What happens after the caterpillar is a cocoon?"
The image of the cocoon is so pertinent to our faith these days. Here the caterpillar nestles in the chrysalis and becomes transformed. In the chrysalis is a creepy crawling caterpillar becoming changed into a beautiful Monarch. That is the process of living in the cocoon. After the transformation, the butterfly will begin to make its way to that one mountain in Mexico where all Monarchs go after their transformational journey.
I know Resurrection remains the spiritual epicenter of our faith. Yet, the boy's image of the cocoon is vital to living in an age riddled with crisis after crisis, ubiquitous violence, guns, ammunition, global warming, a fuel industry controlling legislation with unprecedented profit, and a wanton disregard for next generations, even a barbaric economy with an unquenchable appetite for profit for the tiny few. The cocoon appears to be right on target.
Jesus' prophetic journey moves toward God's Friday. Then we celebrate the promised Easter. Between Friday and Easter Sunday is the chrysalis of the cocoon. Most of us want to get through the cocoon and into resurrected flight. Yet, that is not how healing works.
The Cocoon and its protective chrysalis is the place God does Her best work. The cocoon, and its chrysalis, is where God recreates damaged goods.
I think our society is damaged goods. Congress is stalemated in empty rhetoric. They remain wealthy and distant from the needs of the hard working people. I believe it would be healing, perhaps transforming, if our society with her hired government, hardworking businesses, together with churches, synagogues, mosques, or temples to enter the cocoon. That is where God does Her best work, creating, recreating, healing and transforming.
We have lived through crisis after crisis.
First, comes our initial work in recovery. Then we organize for continued assistance. Then, what is delayed comes depression. Today I remind you that depression is not a cocoon. Nor is it protected in the chrysalis. Depression needs you to enter the protective chrysalis so that God can use professionals of all sorts to guide you into transformation. The fact that you do not see the need to worship regularly and are caught up in business of hectic lives keeps you from the soul power developed in the chrysalis of God.
The depression comes after we stop cocooning. It sneaks up on us after we have allowed the problems to overwhelm us. Depression tricks you into thinking "nothing can be done to help." Depression tricks you into thinking you are alone, or want to be alone, and separate from your church community. Nevertheless, the Cocoon, and its powerful chrysalis, is a Divine moment. It provides the transforming God Spirit preparing you to fly.
The interesting thing about Monarch Butterfly is that it appears they fly alone... one at a time. However, they move together independently toward one goal. They perhaps could teach us that we are also not alone.