Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
A few years ago, in another place and another time, some ladies of the church I was attending sewed up a banner for the Sunday School classes they were leading. It showed a stylized cocoon and a butterfly and contained the caption. “You can fly, but that cocoon has to go.”
Just to review what you know about the life cycles of a butterfly: The adult butterfly lays an egg which hatches into a larva, (caterpillar). The caterpillar grows until he nears his life span and then seals himself into a cocoon, entomologically, a “pupa.” While sealed in this cocoon, not unlike a tomb for the caterpillar, and while by all outward appearances, it is dead; this caterpillar is being transformed. And when the time is right, a beautiful butterfly emerges and flies away to begin life anew.
This image has often been used as a demonstration of the Resurrection, of how a life once lived and died, now rises again into a new life, a renewed, beautiful and full life. And while this is certainly appropriate, perhaps this sequence better fits that of the Holy Spirit as He enters our life. Let’s begin with the cocoon. That which is inside is not dead, it only appears to be when observed from outside, by the world. Inside, it is being transformed.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom 12:2) It is while inside the tomb, the transformation takes place, it is while outwardly quiet that the Spirit is working in us to transform us into what God intends us to be.
Then, there is movement within this cocoon. Its outer layers begin to become transparent, and bright and beautiful colors start to show. Yet there appears to be a struggle going on as the cocoon tries to keep this new creature bottled up. But no power on earth can contain it. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5: 5)
Many of us may be finding ourselves as in a cocoon. We have been through the larva stage, and we know in our hearts that there has to be more. But we find ourselves in a dark and lonely place; a place where hope is fleeting and the light is only a memory. But we shall not give up. The Spirit of God is at work in us, and as we press on, we can begin to see some light piercing the darkness that has encased us. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
It is a dark and fearful world out there, and it is especially dark if you are bottled up in a cocoon. If you have woven a cocoon around yourself, one of worldly concerns and circumstances, of fear and doubt, of sin and guilt. of self loathing and hatred, it is time to break out of it. And the only means we have to break out of our cocoons is to turn to Jesus and be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
It’s time to emerge from your cocoon; You can fly, but that cocoon has to go.