Apr 4 2010

Easter Reflections

butterfly on milkweed

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”  Matthew 28:6

Today is Easter Sunday, undoubtedly the most important day in the Christian year.  On this day Christians worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  This past Friday was Good Friday.  On that day we paused to remember Jesus’ death on the cross.   The cross, of course, has pretty much become the universal symbol of Christianity.  It would seem to me that the empty tomb would be a better symbol but I guess it presents a bigger challenge graphically.

There is, however, a symbol of the resurrection taken from nature that is popular with some.  It is the butterfly.  For many years people have marveled at how the lowly caterpillar creates a cocoon and then emerges as a beautiful butterfly.  In this metamorphosis one can easily find parallels to Jesus’ Passion.  The cocoon appears to be a tomb for the caterpillar; it would seem that the caterpillar no longer exists.  But then the cocoon splits and out comes the butterfly full of life.

I realize that this is not a perfect parallel but I still like the symbolism.  Even if the caterpillar doesn’t really die there is nonetheless a wonderful transformation that takes place.  Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection there is also a wonderful transformation available for those who place their faith in Christ.  That transformation is just as dramatic as the one where the caterpillar turns into a butterfly!

For me Easter is good news.  Because of Jesus’ resurrection we know that sin and death do not have the final word.  Because of the empty tomb we know that there is a power greater than these; that power is God’s love.  It is this love I think about whenever I see a beautiful butterfly.  It is this love I give thanks for today and every other day.  Happy Easter!


(The butterfly image above was taken at Shenandoah National Park.)