When I was dropping my daughter off at preschool, she yelled out, “Look, Daddy! A butterfly!” She leaped out of the van and chased it. Though we were strangers, Butterfly showed a sense of warmth and friendliness towards my daughter and I.
Even though my daughter was up close and exuberant—loud and flailing arms—Butterfly stayed in the same relative position and even landed on a flower.
And chilled out.
I was so drawn into the moment that I didn’t think about taking a picture until after Butterfly had left the flower. I was drawn into the moment because I’ve been seriously thinking about my Bishop’s vision of Kingdomtide and the butterfly/metamorphosis…
And there, amidst green leaves—though we are the season of autumn—was a lovely, friendly, welcoming, butterfly… floating and landing on flowers.
How ephemeral! How ethereal! In every sense of those words.
I was truly reminded: the Kingdom of God is among us; turn from the distractions, deception, and destruction. Chase a butterfly and believe this good news.
I’ve been pondering a great deal over the past 2 months. I’ve been reflecting on restoration, metamorphosis, and the relation of both to God’s Kingdom. That word “Kingdom” cannot fully contain the reality of what the word points to—any more than the word “God” can truly encapsulate the reality of the one who cannot be named. Indeed, my ancestors said that God was so high you can’t go above, so wide you can’t go around, so low you can’t go under… “him.”
But God is beyond the words—though God has personality, God is Spirit and our masculine and feminine pronouns cannot do full justice to God, any more than the word “Kingdom” can truly define the fullness of what Jesus was talking about.
Kingdom of God: the space and time where God’s will is done… where and when God’s love operates in all and through all. A wholeness that we cannot fully taste… a pot of gumbo so complete and so thoroughly and perfectly seasoned—you can taste all the flavors in one slurp, but each successive slurp will somehow have you tasting something new.
God’s Kingdom: a Beloved community where wolf and lamb lay down and feed together… where swords are beat into plowshares, and student loan debt is a bad idea that never happens… where exploitation, misogyny, and pettiness die and become the shit they’ve always been in order to fertilize a new crop of sustainable and equitable relationship built on a love that includes yet supersedes romance, family, religious affiliation, and politics. Run-on sentence. Run on and see what the end is gonna be. A love beyond utility. A love that condemns greed and convicts the parsimonious.
They call that a utopia. A “no place.” Jesus called it the Kingdom. And he dared to proclaim its nearness in an imperial context. He dared to proclaim greenery and crops in the midst of winter. He saw a butterfly and chased it… some said he was crazy… he said…it’s at hand.
I’ll say it like the Sci-Fi Theologian: The Time and Space of One Beyond Naming is near. Turn off the LEDs, the greed, the imperial domination, the moral exclusion… turn off the desire to live life outside of life’s seasons… and come back… return… let its gravity draw you back so that you can return. Let God’s reign deal with the warped space-time that we find ourselves… so that the rough places can be made smooth and the crooked places be made straight… so that every mountain may be brought low and every valley be raised… beam us up Lawdy!
Return of the Kings, Queens, and all things… back to the Source.
Undergo a metamorphosis.
And dare to believe a butterfly can show you more about the world than the social constructions of race. Believe that some dirt can reveal what God desires, more than a stock market chart. Dare to dream of a world beyond Democrat and Republican and whatever else folk identify with… and truly ponder what a world of God’s justice, mercy, and love looks like.
Well, we don’t have to look far.
Just go find a butterfly and be willing get out our cocoons.
©️MJ Sales 2019