Pastor Ron Burcham, Risen Savior Lutheran Church
I once knew a man who had a pet caterpillar. Now, I would agree that having a pet caterpillar is odd, but this man was quite fond of the little guy. He had a little box where the caterpillar would hang out all day, and at night he would come out and snuggle on the guy’s lap. Now my friend, as you might guess, was a very faithful church goer and he really wanted his pet to go along with him. One day he stood next to the box and called out, “Little caterpillar, I am going to church this morning would you like to come with me?” No response. Disappointed, but not beaten he waited about five minutes and tried again; “Little caterpillar, the music will be great and the preacher is really good!” No response. Another ten minutes goes by and he tries one last time; “Come on little guy, go to church with me.” Out of the box he heard; “Give me a minute will ya? I am putting my shoes on!”
Caterpillars are not much to look at and they inch along in life with their legs working feverishly just to go a couple of inches. Last September, you may recall, we had hoards of the little guys crawling around the streets of Chandler. USA Today even did a story on the plethora of the sixteen-legged creatures. Children were creeped out or fascinated, and adults just tried to avoid them.
Of course we know that caterpillars do not stay caterpillars. They hide out in a cocoon to emerge four weeks later as a beautiful butterfly! No more crawling around the ground, now they flit and fly through the air. Scientists tell us that in the four weeks in the cocoon the caterpillar completely breaks down into nothing more than mush and then it is reorganized as a butterfly. It doesn’t die in the cocoon; in fact they say it retains its memory. It enters as a caterpillar and emerges as a butterfly.
This month Christians will celebrate Easter, the day that Jesus, the Son of God, rose from the dead. After being in a tomb for three days, He emerges alive and well. The Bible then teaches us: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4) What we celebrate at Easter is that we went into the tomb with Jesus, just as a caterpillar enters a cocoon. We emerge from that tomb a new person, a changed person, much like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. We enter as sinners and emerge as saints. We enter without hope for the future, and emerge with the certainly of an eternity in heaven.
So why don’t you get your shoes on and go to church this Sunday? Caterpillars are welcomed there.