SEASONS OF CHANGE: Celebrating the Risen Savior
"Christ Is Risen'. He Is Risen Indeed!"
In this way we greet each other on Easter Sunday and on the Sundays during the Easter Season. This greeting connects us to Christians over the millennia since Jesus' death and resurrection, reminding us of the surprise and joy that Christians will always experience at that thought.
The month of May brings with it many instances to celebrate. There’s the end of the school year, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Ascension Day, and even Pentecost
The Easter season reflecting on the Resurrection of our Lord is in fact a seven week long celebration.. Easter is about the new life we have in Christ, in which we are set free to love, forgive and serve, and thereby find a sense of peace and joy in all that we do. By grabbing hold of the cross, we share in Jesus’ victory over sin, death and all that would destroy us. With the continued celebration of Easter this month of May, we can look toward spring and summer in a new way.
The butterfly is the symbol of Easter. It’s fairly easy to see why. During its caterpillar stage, the butterfly doesn’t grab too many people’s attention; it seems to many nothing more than a worm crawling on the ground. As Jesus carried his crossbeam to the place of his crucifixion, collapsing and crawling along the way, he was an easy target for the ridicule of riled-up bystanders (see Isaiah 53: 1-4). After his death, Jesus was taken down from that place of public humiliation and carried by mournful followers to a borrowed tomb and sealed inside. It’s not hard to see the similarity between Jesus’ burial and the caterpillar’s disappearance into a sealed chrysalis (see Mark 15: 42-47). Knowing that chrysalis comes from the Greek word “gold” leads to fuller appreciation of the third and final stage—when a grand and glorious butterfly emerges from the sealed chamber. That golden moment certainly corresponds to the revolutionary reality that broke out into the world when the brutalized and lifeless Jesus emerged from the tomb alive and breathing; at first, not one of his closest followers recognized him (see John 20: 11-18).
That’s really good Easter review, you might say, but what does it have to do with the month of May?
Think Ascension. On the fortieth day after his resurrection, Jesus led his disciples on a walk from Jerusalem to the village of Bethany, and there he blessed them and ascended up into the heavens—out of their sight (see Luke 24: 50-53 & Acts 1: 6-11). There you go. But it doesn’t end there in the waiting for Jesus to come again in the clouds on that great and final day; it connects to what happened ten days later!
People from everywhere were in Jerusalem for the Israelite festival Feast of Weeks which took place 50 days after Passover. Before his departure and Ascension, Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. So they went back to Jerusalem and sure enough, ten days later, the Holy Spirit descended upon them like a mighty rushing wind and flaming fire (see Acts 2: 1-4). This is Pentecost. 50 days. Did they rejoice and stay put? No. Instead they “took to flight” on missionary journeys, remembering Jesus’ words “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
As you go about life’s celebrations, recall how like a butterfly, Christ transforms not only his life but yours. Let the joy that his life brings give you wings to sharing his message.
Pastor Aaron Boerst