Hello. I’m Bishop Jeff Clements of the Northern Illinois Synod. Easter will soon be here, and I’ll get to put on my Easter stole with all of its butterflies. A dear friend of ours made this for me. It’s all cross stitched, and every butterfly on this stole is unique and different.
I’ve thought about the butterfly as a symbol for Easter and for resurrection. In my first call, we decided that we’d use that butterfly theme for Easter, and we gave every family in the congregation the pattern for a butterfly. They were asked to take that pattern home and make one, and then what we did was we took those butterflies, which were all unique, they were all different, and we hung them from ribbons from the ceiling.
And so the front of the sanctuary was adorned with these butterflies that kind of fluttered in the breeze for that Easter Sunday morning.
The week after Easter, we had a funeral, and I didn’t know how appropriate it was to make the church look so festive for a funeral. But we talked about it. I talked about it with the leadership of the congregation, and we decided that the butterflies could stay.
And of course butterflies are a perfect example, a perfect symbol for Easter and resurrection. And what’s a funeral, after all? A celebration of life and celebration of the fact of the promise of eternal life.
So those butterflies were there, and no one questioned the beauty of the sanctuary and those butterflies.
As we approach Easter Sunday this year, I hope that you’ll be bold in your invitation, inviting others: friends, neighbors, acquaintances, people you meet on the street, invite them to come worship with you at your congregation.
You know, we’ve got a message that’s important for the world to hear. A message of life, of hope, of promise, and of resurrection. It’s the story of Jesus. It’s the story that is part of who we are. Let’s make sure that we share that story.
Until next time, I’m walking with you.