from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly

Give Up Lent Square copyLent Introduction
Teaching Segment Notes
by Susan Suzuki

February 7th, 2016

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” begins with “In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf”. It also happens to be a Sunday. The story follows a very hungry caterpillar’s journey as he eats his way through the story until he gets really fat, has a stomachache, climbs into his cocoon and prepares to die. The caterpillar is then brought back to life as a beautiful butterfly the following Sunday, which is similar to Jesus’ triumph on the cross.

There are many wonderful changes that happen to the caterpillar as he transforms into a butterfly in the story that stems from the sinful nature of being greedy and eating all that food. Kind of like how Jesus knew he had to give himself up on the cross for our evils to provide us with salvation.

Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter not including Sundays, beginning with Ash Wednesday. Some people may fast during Lent or give up a particular food or activity. Others will do something to add to their lives or do something that will bring them closer to God known as Almsgiving.

Holy Week commemorates the last week of Jesus’ life and is the last week of Lent.

So during Lent we are supposed to try and change and become more like Jesus and hopefully improve our relationship with God.

As Randy spoke of Jonah & Ninevah a couple of weeks ago, he asked you to wear your square of sack cloth as a reminder that we all need to repent and change our ways. A good reminder of what God is calling you to which was a great lead in to Lent.

Mark 1:12 – 15

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

The Butterfly in “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a great symbol for Easter. It is also a way FullSizeRender-2to show how Jesus rose from the dead and the new life we have through him.

In the story the caterpillar spins a cocoon and goes inside of it to sleep, for some it may look like the caterpillar has died but inside the cocoon a beautiful change is happening. The caterpillar emerges after transforming into a butterfly. So, we see a gluttonous caterpillar change into a beautiful butterfly through Jesus’ dying and rising on Easter.

The butterfly is a great symbol of resurrection. Through the life cycle of the caterpillar to butterfly we can see that death is a change to a new kind of life and that during Lent we too can change ourselves.

The caterpillar had to give up his old life to begin his new life as a butterfly. The caterpillar did something like what Jesus did. Jesus died on the cross to come to a new risen life.

Death is not an end to life for the followers of Jesus but the start of a new life. So if you see a caterpillar or a butterfly remember we are supposed to change during Lent like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”.

During Lent, we should try to do things that show we love God. We should try to love others as Jesus did. During Lent we can do things for others (almsgiving) so that we can grow to be more like Jesus.

The different stages of the journey to becoming a butterfly can serve as a symbol for the process of spiritual growth during Lent. Lent is a journey. Like Jesus who used his time alone in the wilderness to find direction we can use our time in Lent to learn and grow. To become what God intends us to be.

Lent can be a great time to walk in the wilderness and journey with Jesus. What if, instead of giving something up that you love, you give up something that makes you feel bad? What if, instead of giving up Twitter or Facebook you use those tools to connect with people who make you feel like you have community? What if, instead of being hard on yourself for what you need to change, you focus on the things you do well and concentrate on doing them better? What if you got to know yourself and lived into resurrection?

Discussion Questions

  • How have you practiced lent in the past?
  • What do you think living into resurrection for lent could look like?
  • Is there something that brings you life that you could do even better over lent?

Going Dark for Lent

Every year at lent we switch our website background to black. It is a small and subtle change but we “go dark” to remind ourselves that we are entering into a season of  sacrifice. Beth Stedman has a great description of Lent on her blog. She says that,

“At its heart Lent is a journey to wholeness, a journey of joining God in his redemptive and redeeming work in the world. But, that journey begins with a journey through brokenness – we join God in his redemptive work of wholeness by first confronting the brokenness in our own lives and in the world around us. We confront the barriers that keep us from God, the barriers that keep us from each other and the barriers that keep us from God’s creation. This is not a onetime act. We do not overcome these barriers in a day or in 40 days, but the idea is that each year we go through this Lenten process and that at the end of it each time we find ourselves closer…closer to the goal of wholeness and of joining God in His loving work in the world.” read Beth’s full blog post here

By “going dark” for our website’s colour scheme we are reminding oursleves that we are a work in progress, that there is room for introspection and improvement.

We also encourage people to do this by fasting (giving something up). Stedmen says that “Fasting has a way of making us more aware of what’s really important in life, when we give up that which is not important we realize what is important.” You could also take on something that will help you meditate on Jesus’ sacrifice. It could be volunteering, reading the gospels, or starting a prayer journal.

If you would like to come with us on our journey through Lent, you are welcome to join us for our “Give Up Lent” series at Sunday Gatherings and our Common Prayer nights over Holy Week (every day the week before Easter).

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