New Form, New Image, New Body – Meet The Butterfly, The Church
In my last blog we looked at the miraculous transformation from a lumbering caterpillar to a dormant cocoon to an independent free spirited butterfly. I used that analogy with the Church as I feel it about to break loose from its cocoon stage to freedom to fly.
Visually, the most transforming feature of a caterpillar to a butterfly is its body. There is a complete structural difference. The caterpillar is a fat, multi-legged, crawling bug that turns into this slim, winged insect suitable to fly. What happened when it was in its cocoon? This change is radical, yet it appears to occur during a dormant period of its life, when in the cocoon.
I believe the caterpillar/butterfly analogy can also be applied to the Church. The structure of the Church has been rather cumbersome throughout its history. When I have heard sermons about the structure of the church, it has been on apostles, elders, deacons, etc., one built on hierarchal positions. The Roman Catholic Church has even taken it to bishops, cardinals, and the Pope. As the institutional church has grown, so has the financial obligation to maintain it as cathedrals were built and a huge professional clergy system to finance. The institutional church has never been known for change, and what change has come has only come through church politics, thus the lumbering caterpillar.
There have been times of transformation in the church called revivals. During these times the church appears to be dormant, during times of spiritual lulls, where there appears to be some shaking going on inside the safe confines of church structure, unnoticed by those outside the church at first. During these times “new ways” and “new mindsets” of old biblical principals are “revived” as the church wrestles to become like the eggs that hatched its birth in the first century. Because of the structure of what appears to be safety and stability, these “revival” movements are eventually swallowed up by the structure in keeping its old form. The fruit of that revival movement has been division as new sects in Christianity are birthed and thrive. There is no butterfly in structure, just the continuation of the caterpillar.
I contend that there is a new revival happening in the cocoon of Christianity that is about to take on a new form and become a butterfly. No one outside the cocoon can see it, but the cocoon knows that something inside is happening: a reforming of structure for that of a butterfly at its designated time. This body inside the cocoon is going to go through structural change, drastic structural change, and cannot be freed or released from the cocoon until the transformation is complete.
I believe that this change is going to be from the transformation of the current structural, pyramidal, institutional form of hierarchy of positions and offices to a horizontal position of relationships held together and directed by the Holy Spirit with the emphasis on service. How is the structure of the butterfly to look like? We, as a church, don’t know right now because we are entering the cocoon stage of transformation. I believe as we release the five passions and points of view as outlined in Ephesians 4, we will see its fruits manifested in individuals being more mature in the likeness of Jesus Christ as well as the church corporately bringing unity, not division. How that is to all work out, the Holy Spirit is beginning to lay the ground work for, the teaching, the preparation, the equipping before the releasing.
We, the Church, are about to go through a “body” form change built on relationships. The Church knows the power of the vertical of the Cross, the mending of relationship between a holy God and sinful man through redemption of Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, on the Cross. What the Holy Spirit is about to teach us, the Church, is the horizontal relationship of the Cross, the mending of relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ, bringing this embarrassingly fragmented “body” lumbering along in many “parts” into a sleek “transformed” body prepared for flight in the Spirit through relationships. What comes out of this transformational cocoon period will be a completely different image and identity of what the Church is.
How will the butterfly look? Don’t know! Transformation can be messy, retooling usually causes job loses, but it will improve efficiency. Expect even the way we “do” Church to look different as well as the way we think about ourselves individually as Christians as well as the Church, corporately as a whole, a body that is a "living organism", not a "structural organization".
I always wondered what went on inside a cocoon. I think, Church, we are about to find out! If we plan to fly, we must go through the cocoon stage. Good bye caterpillar; hello butterfly!