Friday, November 23, 2007
One of the first lessons we teach at our butterfly farm is the miracle of metamorphosis. A caterpillar, commonly called a worm, is the same animal as the adult butterfly. A chrysalis is the same animal as the caterpillar and the adult butterfly.
As we do presentations, we show photos of an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult butterfly. We ask, “Which is a butterfly?” Of course, the answer is, "The one with wings is the butterfly".
“Hmmm,” we respond, “so a child is not a person and a teenager is not a person?” At that point we become the object of many a perplexed gaze. We explain that a caterpillar is a ‘child’ butterfly. A chrysalis is a ‘teenager’ butterfly (although it doesn’t make noise, eat us out of house and home, hog the phone or computer, or be bossy to younger siblings like many a teenager human).
Butterflies undergo a complete metamorphosis. Each stage of life appears as if it were a totally different animal. It is a complete transformation.
Metamorphosis is a good representation of our transformation from our old person to a new person in Christ. We’re quite comfortable as a caterpillar. We know who we are even when things are not quite the way we’d like them to be.
The caterpillar must cease from being a caterpillar. It has to become something totally different, in many ways, from what it is. This process is called ‘pupation’.
First, a caterpillar literally loses its skin, legs, and ‘head’ to become a chrysalis.
We do the same thing to become a Christian; our old legs/arms took us places and did things that our new person in Christ should not go/do.
A caterpillar can ‘see’ light and darkness with its eyes. (These three dark spots on the side of its head are some of its eyes.)
Our old eyes were un-Christ-like; looking at things with envy, staring with hatred, and other things eyes should not do.
A caterpillar loses its mouth to become a chrysalis.
A caterpillar eats and is known to cannibalize other caterpillars and even chrysalises.
We were known to say things we shouldn’t before we became Christians.
A chrysalis seems to be doing nothing. But inside, it is changing completely. New legs, head, mouth, and wings are being formed.
The process is quick for a caterpillar. It takes three minutes for a caterpillar to become a chrysalis. A chrysalis may take from five days to nine months to become an adult butterfly.
Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth, “are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory”. Ever-increasing; our change isn’t so quick.
We take a long time to change and in the changing, we still say and do things we shouldn’t. How we wish it could be a quick change like it is for a butterfly, we’d drop all the carnal parts of us that are so painful to God, our loved ones, other people in general, and ourselves.
Then the adult butterfly finally emerges; able to do things very different from a caterpillar.
A Christian emerges and is very different than the earlier version of him/herself.
A butterfly is able to soar far above the ground. It is a totally new being - yet is the same being that hatched from an egg.
A Christian is a mix of a chrysalis and an adult butterfly. We’re still forming. God isn’t finished with us yet.
Our final version will be quite different than even the ‘best’ Christian on earth. The final version of a Christian is one with a new body, spending eternity with Christ. No longer will we do and say things we shouldn’t; things that bring tears to God’s eyes. We won’t say and do things that bring tears to the eyes of our loved ones.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect [Or contemplate] the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
“Who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”