SERMON TITLE: “Don’t Hold on to Me”
SERMON TEXT: John 20:1-18
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: April 16, 2017 (Easter) at First UMC
Pastors and churches are always looking for new ways to communicate the story and message of Easter. Many years ago, when I was pastor of the United Methodist Church in Yuma, Colorado, the folks there told me about a creative method they had tried in the past. They had placed an order with a company that sold educational science projects. Some weeks before Easter, they received a bunch of caterpillars in cocoons. According to the instructions, the congregation carefully nurtured the cocoons in a special container. Each Sunday of Lent, during the children’s sermon, the pastor and the children would look at the cocoons and see how they were progressing. Then, finally, by Easter Sunday morning, sure enough, the dead-looking cocoons had split open, and the caterpillars were transformed into lively butterflies. It was a fantastic symbol of how God had raised Jesus from the dead. As the grand finale to the Easter worship service, the children and adults all went outside the church to let the butterflies fly away to glorious resurrection life.
Well, that was how it was supposed to be, anyway. Unfortunately, what actually happened was that the weather was too cold on that Easter Day, and the just-released butterflies immediately died and fell to the ground. Butterflies are delicate creatures—as all of us know from the days when we were kids. I’d be surprised if there is anyone here today who hasn’t tried at one time or another to catch a butterfly. Because of their mysterious beauty, we wanted to hold them in our hands. But the sad lesson we learned as children is that butterfly wings are fragile. Even though we meant no harm, the butterflies were easily damaged. As we grew up, we realized that there are some wonders that we just shouldn’t hold on to.