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Living Free

I love butterflies, but I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to have a fascination with them.  My fascination was actually inspired by a book.  It came out of one of those experiences where you are the teacher, but the tables turn and you become the student.

During my time at seminary, I did a campus ministry internship at a local college.  While away at a retreat with a small number of college students, the tables were turned.  In answering questions during the discussion time, one student continued to relate the topic to insights from a book he had read as a part of his confirmation.  These perceptions were intriguing and in our after session dialogues he shared with me about the book, Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus.

The book begins with the life of two caterpillar friends, Stripe and Yellow.  They munch away filling their bellies full with tasty leaves, but shared an emptiness.  They both had a longing that there must be more to life.  They had this great desire to be up higher, but didn’t know how or what that meant.  They were thirsty for more. One day they traveled off together and discovered caterpillar pillars.  This was obviously the answer they had been looking for and together they plunge into a caterpillar pillar to work their way to the top.

The is an internal prodding that haunts us with the possibility of more to this life.  Finding the solution only to discover, it is still not what you had in mind.  Might as well give in and plunge into this life with all my might and push my way to the top.  Does any of this sound familiar?

There is more to the story, but I won’t ruin it for you.  It is worth the quick read and rich with life lessons.  But without disclosing the obvious outcome, the two caterpillars must face another daunting question, “what if this isn’t it?”  Abandon all that you know to pursue something that sounds utterly ridiculous, the opposite of which all you have worked hard.  Sacrifice everything without knowing 100% what the outcome will be.  It really seems like too much.  Must I really die to live?  How can this be?

Crawling caterpillar to beautiful butterfly.  Munching on leaves to sipping sweet nectar.   Inching along slowly close to the gro

und to flying freely in the air where the sky is the limit.

“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation.  The old way of living has disappeared.  A new way of living has come into existence.” 2 Corinthians 5:17, GWT

It is the Easter message.  Jesus died on the cross so that we can truly live.  He rose again and conquered death.  He promises a new life for those who will believe.  A life that promises freedom from bondage to the things of this world that taunt us only to find out when we give in to the things of this world, they begin to control us.

“For freedom, Christ has set us free….” Galatians 5:1

“that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom….” Romans 8:21, ESV

“Live as people who are free…” 1 Peter 2:16

I simply fell in love with the underlying messages of that book, because it painted a stunning picture of the message of the cross for me.  And because of what Christ did for me, I too am faced with a decision to die to myself so that Christ can live through me.

Every time I see a butterfly, it reminds me of the choice I made at the age of seven to not live the life of a caterpillar, but to become through Christ a beautiful butterfly.  It also reminds me of the choice that I am faced with on a daily basis to live free like the Galatians 5, verse 1 says, lest I fall back into my old way of doing things.

Easter, a compelling invitation to believe Jesus died & rose again so that we can live.  But in receiving this gift of life we must, like the caterpillar, arrive at a place where we surrender everything we know, let go of everything except our hope….

….that we will be transformed into something new and enjoy living free.

I pray a special blessing on all who read this:  May you grasp and receive the message of Easter and join me in living free….but when we don’t and fall back into crawling on the ground….and then see a butterfly…be reminded of the choice we have…make it and turn back once again towards….living free.

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