Metamorphosis: The Cocoon Stage


A Time Of Rewiring, Reworking, Remaking, Redoing

Several months ago I wrote about the church going through a metamorphosis process, going from being a caterpillar, cumbersome, slow to change, devouring all it can eat in an effort for growth to entering a cocoon stage where a transformation of structure would occur to be released as a butterfly, a sleek structure ready for flight.  I believed the church was about to go through quite a transformation process because it would literally change the “structure” of the church. I wondered what would take place in this cocoon stage that would create such a dramatic change.

Then I remembered that “we” are the church, so it would have to directly affect “me”.  I thought of the church as a whole, as a structure, as an institution, but not that it would affect me personally. How wrong that assumption has been.  I briefly shared my journey then with a group of people last night, and one participant piped out, “sounds like you are in that cocoon now.” I think he is right.

So what is happening inside it? I can wrap it up in two words: drastic change. I feel like I am in a challenging time; it can be a depressing time. I do not have a “critical spirit” that produces negativity, but I find myself questioning everything the church does, believes, and propagates as well as what I do, believe and propagate spiritually.  It’s beginning to drive me nuts, because it creates an illusion of isolation, not being able to “fit” in to current structures, structures that always gave me assurance, support, comfort, encouragement, structures that use to be the pillars of what I did and what I believed.

It feels like I am being rewired, old out dated wiring being ripped out while newer wire that meet more stringent codes of higher quality and standards are replacing them. I am beginning to sense what an old housing structure must feel like when deemed inadequate or even condemned, then completely gutted, only to be rewired, reworked, and remodeled to newer and higher standards and codes. It must be a painful process to that old building when at first experiences being ripped apart, then reworked and even reshaped, before being repainted.  Often we take “before” and “after” shots of our remodeling projects so we can say, “I can’t believe it looked that way once, but look at its beauty today.” 

The hardest part of this process is the constant challenge of new ideas and ways of thinking by the Holy Spirit to challenge my willingness or lack there of to embrace new mindsets. The way that I did church in my childhood seems so antiquated that it parallels with Puritanical times. Societal norms and culture have drastically changed over the century. My grandfather drove a horse drawn cart to deliver milk, experienced the invention and integration of the telephone, radio, television, and internet.  He took a trolley to town, bought a model-T Ford, and saw the creation of superhighways. He lived in a society life centered around the local community church and the local band pavilion, then changed to school and sports activities, to now embracing social networking. His world started local, being interrupted by a World War, followed by its connection through something called a world wide web. He longed for “the good old days” of a simpler, more local life, but gave way to health care, assisted living, and nursing facilities that lengthen his life by several decades. Even my life span of six decades has seen incredible change.

So the cocoon phase brings death to some old structures, pillars, out dated wiring with outdated codes, and replaces it with new life, new pillars, new wiring with more stringent and higher healthier codes.   The new remodeled building or structure looks nothing like its original although basically it is still built on the same foundation. That foundation is Christ Jesus, the Rock.  The Church is facing a world that is changing, one with a greater global vision, more interconnectivity, one actually becoming smaller, a world that can come to one’s Smartphone in one’s pocket, the way I/we structure Church, do Church, will have to be revamped, restructured, reworked, redone, rewired.  

Church, I propose, we are in that cocoon stage.  The only way to come out of it as a butterfly is our willingness to yield and listen to the Holy Spirit and be obedient to His work as he coordinates this restructuring, rebuilding, rewiring, redoing.  If the creature that enters the cocoon as a caterpillar decides to stay in the cocoon, it means only one thing, death. Life, a resurrected life, is one that is willing to oppose the grave and rise in newness, the butterfly, the new structure, a new life.

I am sure as I/we walk through this stage, even more challenges, more new mindsets, more reworking, more repentance, more dying to self and dying for our fellow brethren will have to take place. The cocoon stage has only begun!