This last weekend my family and I went to Chattanooga, TN to get away together as a family. I wanted some time to connect with Yvonne before she goes off to Alaska with her mom and grandmother.
We spent a good amount of time at the Aquarium there. And on the top floor of the Ocean section, there’s a neat little butterfly garden. We stayed here for quite a while.
I love butterfly gardens. They’re magical… I don’t care who you are, you can’t deny that a butterfly garden is simply filled with wonder. On the surface you have all sorts of pretty flowers and creatures. It’s a delight to look at. But beyond that, you have so many facets of God’s creation working together for the good of the whole.
But at a butterfly garden, in the city, filled with tourists, you’re going to see another wonder.
People from all over come through this particular garden, and the best thing to watch is the face on some decked out thug or tough guy, even the red-necks that come in. They’ll be sporting their sagging pants, or sleeveless shirts… sideways hats… wearing whatever costume the latest fashion is telling them to wear to be acceptable. They strut or swagger in with their dolled up girlfriends by their sides…
…they see life.
Their eyes open wide. The hardness of their faces softens into a childlike gaze. Their very posture turns sweet and non-threatening. I even saw one fella hike up his pants so he could walk around normal. They begin to chase around like toddlers, this elusive, fragile and enigmatic creature.
For a moment, just a moment, they have forgotten the facade that they have put on. For a moment, they drop their masks and play. For that moment, they’re children, God’s children, the way they’re meant to be.
If you watch their eyes, you almost see every worry disappear. Time even seems to stand still. There are no bills, no worries, no arguments… only the chase of this little creature. There’s only the sweet hope that these brilliantly colored things will give them a moment of their short lives and rest on their finger. And when they do, the earth stops. The glow that comes across their faces is immeasurable. They shine so bright.
When I think about it, in the couple hours we spent there, just watching and playing, I don’t think that I heard a single child fuss or anyone argue. The air was magic. But one thing I did see, was a family so hard and calloused, that they’d just stroll through. It was as if they couldn’t see the beauty around them. They were in a hurry. They had things to do, and it certainly wasn’t to play with bugs.
But what a blessing these little critters are. They delight everyone whose path they cross.
And that got me thinkin…
A long time ago, the patriarch of our faith, Abram at the time, was confronted by the Most High God. He was given a command and a promise.
The command was to leave everything that defined him and go to the land God would show him.
The promise is that he would be blessed by God. His name would be great, and even more, that he would become a great blessing. God said that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him.
That’s quite a promise. I believe that God has made good, and still intends to make further good on that.
If you think about it, we’re called to be like the butterflies; an amazing race, other-worldly, that erase the hardness of the face of the hard and lift up the faint of heart. That, or they reject us entirely, just as they did our first born, Jesus.
He led the way. He went this way and that, and the people either dropped all that they were to follow him and believed the Gospel that the kingdom was at hand, or, they were too hard in all that they had to do, and were left to their own unhappiness.
We’re meant to be part of a race that affects people that deeply. We’re called to be a people who’ve left the chains behind and show the joy, beauty and magic of God. We’re called to lay our lives down to show that we believe in a deeper kingdom that this cruel and cold world.
Here’s an interesting tidbit… Many butterflies live only 4 days, and at the longest, up to 6 months. Most of them are somewhere around a month. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was neat that they live so briefly, and yet can give so much joy.
Can we do the same?
If you call yourself a disciple of Christ, remember the promise given to Abraham. Remember that we’re supposed to be part of a mighty kingdom, a deep kingdom who’s King reigns forever! We’re called to be the answer. We’re called to help people return to the state that the Father longs for us to be in… little children. We’re called to be part of a kingdom who leave a trail of life behind us… You and I called to live for something more.