Caterpillars and  butterflies

We all need symbols to help us understand what things mean.  Easter is all about the celebration of Christ’s resurrection – new life conquering death.  And it was originally associated with eggs because eggs too are about new life.


But if we’re honest, the symbolism of the Easter egg has been lost in the marketing plans of the chocolate industry.  It’s become the Easter equivalent of Father Christmas.  So just for a few minutes think about a different symbol: caterpillars and butterflies. 

One Easter, in the parish where I was a curate, we decorated the church with huge caterpillars & butterflies which the children had made.  It looked lovely, colourful, but people didn’t understand why we’d done it.  So I explained.


A caterpillar lives its life for one purpose only: to become a butterfly. There’s only one way to get there.  To become that beautiful butterfly, the form of the caterpillar must die.  From the death of one form, another more glorious form arises. 


I find that an almost perfect description of what we’re meant to be celebrating on Easter Sunday.  Jesus died on the cross, and was raised by God.  From his death sprang new, more glorious life.



(photograph courtesy of