On Wednesday night, I sat in on Pastor Mark’s class. The idea of butterflies came to mind as he spoke of transformation. The idea of moving from illusion to reality synchronized my mind with the idea of caterpillars and butterflies. The idea of how we detest caterpillars yet we love butterflies, one we kill, the other we love. What is it about their transformation that makes such a difference in our appreciation?
The more Pastor Mark led the class, the more I connected to the idea of butterflies until I heard, “butterflies are free to fly…butterflies.” That line is from an Elton John song called “Someone saved my life tonight.” Talk about a transformation from death to life. Imagine one moment sitting on the edge of a cliff, legs dangling in the air, swinging wildly, then deciding to move away from the edge and embrace the bucolic field of dreams a few paces away. From the edge of the ending to the belly of the beginning, from facing death to embracing life. Has someone ever saved you from an act that you would have regretted making?
The backstory associated with this song is conflicting and freeing simultaneously. There is heartbreak and realization of freedom, of one embracing their own agency and power. To break the cocoon of cultural expectations and normative behavior. To break free from a tawdry past and embrace life on one’s own terms. To feel free in one’s own skin. Like a butterfly that is free to fly.
I believe that is what Jesus offers each of us. I believe that is the peace that Jesus leaves for us. However, there is a condition; we must love others. Jesus is clear that we must love others and not just ourselves. Just loving ourselves as our will be done. Loving others as we love ourselves is God’s will being done. Both behaviors have their own reward, but only one requires transformation. Amen.