Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
~ Matthew 28:20
This morning as I walked along our back fence, I noticed a monarch caterpillar hanging upside down. It's what they do just prior to transforming into a chrysalis, and then later, emerging as the monarch butterfly. As I looked at this small, living thing, I couldn't help but think of the times when the world has seemed to be "upside down," in my own life.
It's natural for the caterpillar, but when it happens to us, we become anxious, or unsure, because hanging upside down, or experiencing things that are less-than-normal for us, changes how we see the world.
About the time that I graduated from seminary twenty years ago, a number of my fellow graduates were feeling very unsure about what the next chapter was going to look like. Often we would joke and ask each other if God had somehow dropped a road map into our laps, with an "X" noting where we currently are, and a bigger "X" where we were going to end up.
Oh, how we all longed for that road map!
Years ago a Roman Catholic priest friend of mine shared, "Even if you are traveling down a one-way road the wrong way, but yet, you feel that God is calling you, God will literally turn the world around to get you going in the right direction."
Of course, I don't recommend it on the highway in Houston where I drive each day, but I understand what he was saying. Sometimes we are forced to look at things from a different perspective so that we understand better how to maneuver through the experience.
Robert Frost's, "The Road Not Taken," has served me well when the world seems to be chaotic, and I find myself upside down. He writes, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Jesus calls us each day to look at the world from his view. Sometimes it does require us to look from it in a different way, or with different eyes. We are being invited to speak love towards one another, which for some, will literally cause people to look at one another differently. We are being challenged to sit with our enemies, and to break bread with them, while praying for them as well. These are the very things that cause us to change!
Lent is about our returning to God. It is an invitation to look at where we currently are, and if necessary to turn our lives upside down, if that means we are looking at the world the way that God wants us to view our surroundings. It is not always about being comfortable, but like this caterpillar that is about to make it's transformation, so it is with us! Maybe it's time that we all view the world from a different perspective, from the cross of Christ.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.