Church of the monarch butterfly


I went to the monarch butterfly welcome home party at Natural Bridges State Park today. It is one of many beautiful parks in the area where I live. Natural bridges are rock formations along the coast that water goes through so they look like, well, natural bridges.

I was sitting eating my organic hot dog and slurping my Odwalla super protein latte listening to some band that looked like the local version of the Mamas and the Papas singing songs about monarch butterflies, which was followed by a guy reciting poetry about butterflies, when my friend Greg looked at me and whispered, “We are in the church of the monarch butterfly.”

My friend Greg is a follower of Jesus Christ and attends one of the hippest post-modern churches called Vintage Faith, so I think that qualifies him to recognize a butterfly church service. Besides, his two children both brought their monarch butterfly wings and marched in the monarch butterfly parade. Greg went in the parade, too, but I don’t think he really cares that deeply about butterflies—but he does care very deeply about his children.

If I seem a little jaded toward monarch butterflies, I am not. In fact, walking through the grove of eucalyptus trees where they hang out, and seeing hundreds of them floating through the trees is an amazing sight. I’m not going to buy the butterfly t-shirt or the bumper sticker, but they are a beautiful reminder of an amazing creator.

It’s funny how we all need something to believe in. If you took out the butterflies, you could have put this event in the parking lot of most Christian churches. It had the necessary ingredients: music, food, entertainment for the kids, and a core group of committed people. I think in Romans chapter one it talks about worshiping the creation rather than the creator.

For me, the deeper issue has to do with the end of the day when we lie alone with our thoughts in the dark. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

There are parts of this world that we will never really understand. It’s not a design flaw, but I think it might be the reason we have churches for butterflies.

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