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April 10, 2020

Easter & Freedom & New Life & Butterflies.

I found a caterpillar yesterday.  It seems a strange time for caterpillars, (although our current experience does evoke cocoons), but there he was in his fuzzy black and orange glory.  Frightened, I think, by suddenly being plucked from his routine, he curled up as tightly as he could, looking like a prickly ball of fuzz.  “Just like us,” I thought.  And then I remembered my best story ever about caterpillars, which is strange, since there wasn’t a caterpillar to be found that day.

I had gone to assist with the bilingual preschool Grace had at Farmway Village that summer.  Brandon, our Grace ministry intern, had been assisting the preschool teachers there, and on this day, they had to be away, so he asked if I would come and help.  All was going well and then he announced that we were going out to the park for a caterpillar hunt. 

“Oh, dear,” I thought,“Disaster!”  I knew there weren’t any caterpillars to be found where we were going and I could just imagine twenty bored and unhappy children.  But Brandon was enthusiastically determined and the children were excited.  He gave great directions on how and where to look for these elusive creatures and off we went.  Everyone was diligent in their searching and it wasn’t long until “signs” of caterpillars were being carefully collected and reported.  Brandon examined every tiny hole in every leaf produced, heads together with each enthusiastic explorer.  After ten or fifteen minutes, Brandon called all the children and together they determined that indeed the park had been full of caterpillars, and some very tricky ones may yet be hiding there, but that most, no doubt, had become butterflies and flown.  So, he proclaimed, that’s what we should do, too.  He then took out long, colorful ribbons that were attached to each child’s wrists, and off they went, butterflies flying in the park!

Yesterday, as I held that caterpillar, I thought, “This is us.  This is our Easter—a caterpillar event that is meant to be a celebration of butterflies!”  Easter is about freedom and new life and color and joy and. . .butterflies!  How can we celebrate all wrapped, as we are, in cocoons of distancing and anxious unknowing?  And then I remembered that day in the park at Farmway.

There weren’t any caterpillars, but it didn’t matter because the children knew that Brandon knew that sometimes there were.  And he taught them how to look carefully for them; what the signs were that they had been there and would be there again.  And when there was no way to see a butterfly, he offered them the chance to be a butterfly.  This, it turns out, is even better!

If you think about it, we’ve always been caterpillars at Easter.  We look in hope to Jesus the Christ, the Resurrected One, who burst forth from the tomb in all his butterfly glory!  And the power of that moment is such, that even before we have our own wings, like the children in the park, we know freedom and joy and new life!  You don’t have to see a caterpillar to know one has been there or will be there.  You don’t have to be a butterfly to know the joy and wonder of wings!

Easter is about freedom and new life and color and joy and. . .butterflies!

Dear Friends, I hope you have found time for some Holy Week reflection in these past few days.  I think it is sometimes hard to reflect on hard, trying times, which Holy Week certainly was, when we are experiencing our own difficult days.  But maybe it is even more important now to watch and learn from those who have gone before us and navigated their own dark days.  We tell their stories again and again, because they found wisdom and peace in the midst of trial and tribulation.  Those stories are for us and about us and will provide the light we need in our own dark times. Some thank-you's are in order.   First, thank-you to Mia Crosthwaite who was the driving force behind the Lenten retreat on-line.  We hope it was helpful for those who participated.  The material is on the Grace website and Facebook page for those who are interested.  Another thank-you to Scott and Fran Hudson who attached our blackboards, giving a space for those who walk by to offer their thoughts and prayers.  They also donated the new banner and installed it on the end of the church.  Both items are new for Grace, but obviously God is doing a new thing here among us and we don't want to be left behind!  Another thank-you to Omar Guzman and sons Christian and Alex who are mowing the grass.  We are so fortunate, in this stay at home time, to have a family right there in Grace House that is so able to be of assistance. Thank-you also to all of you who continue to support Grace with your pledge.  Without our rental income, our budget will be stretched.  We need and appreciate your support. And thank-you as well to all of you for your faith and perseverance in this time.  I see you reaching out to one another, I feel your prayers, I know you hold this community of Grace in  your hearts! Announcements:  Good Friday service will be at 7 tonight, live streaming on our Facebook page.  The Feast of the Resurrection will be on Sunday, live streaming at 10:30.  I invite you to take extra time and thought in your Easter preparations this year.  What will you do that you always do to carry on the tradition of Easter?  What will you do that you never did before to celebrate life and joy and butterflies in this caterpillar time?  Let us know.  Comment on Facebook or send an email to Mia and she will post it. Most important, let us all remember always, we are God's beloved and this is God's good world!  We are, no matter what, no matter where, and Easter people and our cry is now and forever, "Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!" Karen+

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