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April 2012

Easter Butterflies

Easter Sunday

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud
Scripture Reference: Mark 16:1-8

Preparation: Bring a picture of a caterpillar, a chrysalis, and a butterfly—or, if possible, bring a real chrysalis and butterfly model.

Happy Easter! The Lord is risen. Hallelujah! Today we celebrate one of the most important days in the church. We celebrate because Jesus rose up from the dead, because he came back to life and is living even today. Many times we have heard the story of how Jesus died on the cross and then beat death by coming back to life on the third day. Easter is not a surprise for us, but it is a wonderful celebration.

The followers of Jesus were surprised on that first Easter. They were shocked. They didn’t know what to think. Even though Jesus had told them he would die and then be raised again to life, they just couldn’t believe it.

Early on that first Easter morning, three women followers of Jesus went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. The tomb was a cave dug into the side of a hill where the body of Jesus had been wrapped up with linen cloths and placed on a bench of stone.

The women had many surprises waiting for them that Easter morning. First of all, they were surprised to see that the huge stone had been rolled away from the doorway—the tomb was open. Then they bent down and went into the burial cave and were startled to see an angel sitting in the tomb. They were surprised again to hear the angel tell them that Jesus was not there; he was alive and already on his way to another town. Then the women turned around and were amazed to see the cloths that had wrapped Jesus were folded and on the stone bench where his body had been.

They ran from the tomb, too scared to say anything. Of course, Jesus had told them that he would die and then be raised to life again, but when it actually happened, it was too surprising for the women to accept at first.

Imagine you had a pet caterpillar, and you watched the caterpillar spin a chrysalis, and then nothing happened for days. (Here you may show your illustration.) If you didn’t know that butterflies come out of chrysalises, you might think your pet had died. You’d be sad that you had lost your fuzzy caterpillar. But one day, you would see that the chrysalis was empty and a beautiful butterfly was fluttering around.

Butterflies are often used as a symbol of Easter. Butterflies decorate churches at Eastertime to remind us of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Like a butterfly coming out of a dead-looking chrysalis, Jesus came out alive from the tomb with a resurrected body that would never die. Happy Easter!

Prayer: Alleluia! We praise you, mighty Lord, for rising up from the dead to new life. Thank you, Jesus, that we, too, will not die, but will live with you forever in heaven. We praise you for Easter.

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