Alleluia! He is Risen!
The words ring out in churches everywhere today. Some churches, like mine, ‘bury the Alleluia’ and avoid saying it during Lent. Then on Easter the Alleluia is back in joyful abandon. I once read that years ago the clappers on the church bells some places in Europe were removed during Lent and returned for Easter when they clanged the joyful news.
Many places you’ll see flowers and eggs and butterflies. All are symbols of new life coming from something simple. In each case what comes out is nothing like the thing that it started as. A seed is nothing like a plant, a chick is nothing like an egg, a butterfly is certainly nothing like the caterpillar.
Early in Lent I heard a speaker talk about what happens scientifically and physiologically to the caterpillar in the process of becoming a butterfly. Like her, I had always imagined the caterpillar kind of splitting down the back with wings and the new creature emerging. Turns out it is much more dramatic. The caterpillar actually ‘dissolves’ into something called ‘imaginal disks’ which then form and turn into the butterfly.
During Lent, we have been exploring symbols that may have helped us in our own transformation toward a fuller Christian life and commitment. We are the God-breathed dust that forms us into living, breathing humanity. As that, admittedly frail and fault-ridden, creation we are called to be Light in the world’s darkness and to plant seeds of transformation. The only way we can hope to accomplish such a monumental task is because of the Love of God seen in Jesus on the Cross.
The Living Lord, rising from the Grave, was a new and different creation from the dead carpenter’s son laid in the grave by Joseph of Arimathea and the faithful women. Because we have the imago dei of God (maybe that is like the imaginal disks of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly?) we can live a new life this Eastertide and beyond. Because of the Cross and Victory over the Grave we can, with St. Paul say, “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)
Alleluia! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!