by Rev. Crystal Muldrow
As I write this article, I look out on grey skies and rain trying to decide if it will turn to snow. Yes, the weather is doing its transformation dance between winter and spring. It is making the decision to come out of slumber…to release old life and allow new life to rise. What does spring, butterflies and Jesus all have in
common? The ability to transmute out of death to rise greatly as new life.
We who live in a climate where there are four seasons, have a greater understanding of this. As the cold weather comes in and snow blankets the ground, the trees and plants go dormant. Most plants die in front of our eyes. Yet, beneath the surface, beyond our eyesight, change is taking place. Deep in the soil, new life comes about. Trees and plants are gorging on the nutrients of the soil then they fight their way up through the heavy soil to become some-thing grander than what they were. It rises out of the darkness into the light as new life.
“There is nothing in a caterpillar
that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”
~ R. Buckminster Fuller
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,
but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
~ Maya Angelou
The caterpillar is a beautiful example of something that fully comes apart to rise anew. The hungry caterpillar gorges itself with leaves, growing plumper and larger. One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf, and molts into a shiny chrysalis. It is here the caterpillar radically trans-forms its body. It digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues, making a caterpillar soup. Eventually it emerges as a butterfly. It stands for hours gently moving its wings, pumping fluids into them to extend them fully. Then the butterfly soars gracefully away leaving nothing behind but a broken chrysalis to indicate its former bondage.
Jesus was sort of a human caterpillar. Jesus gorged on spiritual Truth. He continued to have a deeper and more expansive understanding of who he was. He was the son of God and allowed God to do its works through him (John 14:10). One can think of Jesus on the cross and his crucifixion, like the caterpillar attaching itself on a twig, as he is consciously deciding to free himself of his True self. The chrysalis and butterfly suggest the empty grave clothes of Jesus who has risen. He has burst forth into new life from the tomb. The bondage of death is broken. Christ is risen!
When you see a beautiful butterfly, or when you see the dead shell of a chrysalis on the ground, you do not grieve for the dead caterpillar. No, both of these experiences indicate the continuity of life itself. This account of Jesus is in fact alive to help us, to guide us, to give us hope for our own future. Like winter forming into spring, a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, the man Jesus transmuting into what he was born to be—Christ; we too are here to do the same. Ella Wheeler Wilcox said, “Go roll the stone of self away and let the Christ within thee arise.” When the beautiful, new self arises in you, you do not mourn over the old self. The old self becomes new when you take on and gorge the fruits of spiritual teachings, practice the teachings, and live the teachings by allow God to do its works in and through you.
“The spring wakes us, nurtures us and revitalizes us.
How often does your spring come?
If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year.
If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently.”
~ Gary Zukav
As we move into this new season of spring, we too move into our creative expression. As the days lengthen and the ground finally reappears and new life comes forth, we celebrate our growth, our new Spirit.