I suddenly caught my breath and froze when I noticed the flash of bright orange and black fluttering above the pure, white flowers. There was a huge, pristine Monarch butterfly perched perfectly on a flower. After quickly tip-toeing inside for my camera, I carefully snuck up on the photogenic butterfly that was cooperating surprisingly well. Just one tiny step forward would perfectly capture the beauty of the moment . . . “Meowww!” one of the cats rudely interrupted. He and the butterfly noticed each other in the same instant and my moment was over. “Mud Puddle! Leave the pretty butterfly alone!” I scolded the rascally cat as I tickled his tummy and he tried to attack my hand.
Though my butterfly was gone, I lingered a few moments, enjoying the fragrant flower. Another colorful set of Monarch wings caught my eye – this time a little more hidden among the foliage. To my surprise, this butterfly didn’t move even when I got very close with my camera. When I gently brushed aside some of the leaves, I found out why – this butterfly had died and a large, black spider was making a meal out of it. I was struck with a tinge of sadness, knowing of the amazing migration journey of the monarch (more about monarchs and migration next week) and wondering if it had completed its part of the grand relay. After finding a different occupation for Mud Puddle, the cat, I went about the delicate task of chasing off the spider and collecting the butterfly specimen to be preserved.
The brightly colored butterfly remains, being consumed by the black spider and resting amid the pure, white flowers made me think. It was innocence and pure beauty now brought to a halt by corruption and death. What was the story behind what I found? Did the butterfly just die naturally and fall under these flowers where the spider found a free meal? Or had the spider ensnared this beautiful creature, weaving a deceptive trap right by the pure, fragrant flowers? One can never really know for sure, but the position of the butterfly tends to make me lean towards the deceptive spider theory.
Deception that happened in a garden, amid purity and life: deception that leads to death. Innocence dies. Doesn’t that sound familiar? It sounds a lot like the Biblical account of Eve, the first woman, in the Garden of Eden. She was deceived (Adam was not), and made a choice that lead to death for all of mankind and all of creation – it’s the reason why people, butterflies, and everything else in our world is dying. They were responsible for taking care of creation – we are sub-rulers of creation under the authority of the Creator. Adam and Eve were the “monarchs” over the Garden of Eden and their choice made future generations and all of their “subjects” in creation suffer for it.
Their purity and innocence died when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Jesus was both God and man – He was tempted in all the ways that we are, yet without sin. He is the picture of purity and innocence. He chose to die, taking a punishment He did not deserve, so that we might have the same purity and innocence He has so that we can stand blameless before God. Jesus died, but He also rose again, conquering death, and offering to make us into a new, uncorrupted creation. He makes the new creation first in our hearts, and some day He will make a new heaven and earth, free from death and corruption.
Copyright Sara J. Bruegel, 2015