“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty”. This statement was made by the late poet, Maya Angelou. Her words describe the human tendency to focus on and celebrate all that is considered beautiful while minimizing the often arduous process of creating that beauty. The butterfly must go through a series of secluded, obscure, unglamorous, stages of evolution before it eventually emerges to grace the world with its exquisite loveliness. During the chrysalis stage, where the caterpillar is enclosed in a self-created cocoon, its body is dissolved into a thick liquid which, through a miraculous procedure that only the Creator fully understands, is transformed into a beautiful butterfly body. That body then breaks free of its cocoon prison and flies off to share its beauty and to reproduce. The unattractive slimy body of the caterpillar has to die, in effect and then be re-created into something beautiful. The ultimate end-product of beauty is completely reliant on the long, complicated process of transformation.
Just as there is no butterfly without the darkness and solitude of the cocoon, there is no true understanding and appreciation of the beauty of Easter without the penitence and solemnity of Lent. As Ms. Angelou’s quote suggests, we should not overlook the necessary and sometimes painful process of transformation in our hurry to get to that eventual stage of beauty. The period of Lent gives us the opportunity to withdraw into the cocoons of our souls and submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit as we reflect on Jesus’ completed work on Calvary’s Cross. It is in this secluded atmosphere, that the Holy Spirit can perform the miraculous process of dissolving our unattractive sinfulness and changing it into the holy, godly conduct that reflects the glorious beauty of Jesus Christ. We are then truly free to reproduce God’s love and share it with the world at Easter and beyond.
During this Lenten Season and throughout our entire Christian journey, may the words of hymn-writer Albert Orsborn be our prayer:
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
O, Thou Spirit Divine, all my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”
written by Trustee Sharon Rocke