Sunday 17th March

John 12: 20 – 33

Did you know that butterflies have to struggle to get out of their chrysalis on their own. Should a well-meaning human try to offer a ‘helping hand’ the butterfly will die

The struggle is an essential part of their development, growth and transformation.

I saw a film clip the other day of a butterfly struggling and straining its way out of its chrysalis and then slowly unfurling its wings until its glorious transformation was complete.

To help it would be to damage the damp and delicate dust-covered wing and render it flightless.

The butterfly has to complete its transformation on its own, and the struggle is part of it becoming the beautiful creature it is.

The beautiful butterfly originates as an egg, then a caterpillar. For its new identity to emerge the caterpillar must endure the struggle and nobody and nothing can help it with that.

Now caterpillars are little more than eating machines, stomachs on legs! But, once it has eaten its fill and stored all the nutrients it needs, the time comes for the body that has served its purpose to be discarded in favour of another.

It spins a silken pad to hang on to and with it’s anchor and line securely in place, the transformation can take place. The caterpillar creates a chrysalis around itself and its old identity is rolled up like an old sock and discarded.

This new body is for something quite different – a lighter more delicate touch on the world. The chrysalis is an agent of near miraculous change and one responsible for making butterflies powerful symbols of hope and transformation, a sign that something beautiful is surely on its way.

The transformation is complete once the beautiful butterfly has emerged slowly and agonisingly from the chrysalis. The nutrition it has stored is responsible for its ultimate glory.

Jesus said ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say — “Father, save me from this hour”?  Jesus went on to endure the agonising pain and struggle of the cross, and through it he was transformed, changed into glory as a symbol of hope and transformation for us, a sign that feeding on the nutritious word and love of God will equip us for struggle and transformation of these bodies.

Whilst, like Jesus, we might pray that the need to struggle for transformation to occur may be taken from us, struggle will inevitably be a necessary part of change, so that we may ultimately become who we truly are meant to be… as individuals, and as a Church, as Jesus himself did – in life, death and resurrection.

Rev Janine