In season one of the acclaimed TV show Lost, ABC aired what I claim as my favorite episode entitled The Moth. In this episode, there is a two minute segment where John Locke explains to Charlie how a moth has to go through its metamorphic struggle to become a beautiful moth. What John is really addressing is Charlie’s drug addiction. He reminds Charlie about the deal they made concerning the drugs. After Charlie asks for his drugs back a third time he gets them all back. Yet, John explains how he needs to endure the struggle in order to overcome the addiction and come out a stronger person. My storytelling does not do the segment justice. Checkout this clip and you’ll get the idea:
Metamorphosis is a painful thing. If you study the stages of a monarch moth’s transformation you will learn that the struggle to escape the cocoon is what gives it strength to fly by flooding the wings with blood. To me the clip spoke about the human spirit, but I also saw a metaphorical picture of the Church that is still emerging and struggling to escape the cocoon of Christendom, in order to become stronger as it continues on her spiritual movement. In the clip John explains that he could help the moth emerge quicker if he cut a slit in the cocoon, but it would be a weak moth that likely would not survive. He says, “Struggle is Nature’s way of strengthening it.” I believe that is where we find ourselves as a Church. For hundreds of years different movements have tried to help the people of the Church to fly in their faith by using different methods and models, only to foster an environment that relies on others’ faith and not a total obedience to Christ. We’ve almost eliminated the need for struggle and endurance on this Christ journey by creating a secure environment that is safe for the whole family.
What comes to mind is how Israel wanted to go back to Egypt because life was difficult and trusting God was hard. Another thought is how some disciples wanted to go back to their homes to take care of personal stuff. Why? Because it’s easy to go back to environments that are familiar and safe. Besides, following God/Christ/Spirit is very dangerous, painful and risky in every possible way. The enemy also knows that we would desire the easy way of living the Christian life and he does all he can to accommodate that desire. Just look at the many variations of teachings coming from religious leaders throughout Christendom.
At some point we have to get to the point of not being fooled again. Our addiction to Christendom must be replaced with a life giving faith that comes from the Spirit of God and flows through our spiritual veins. We can’t give into the idea that the way of Christendom is the best way to proceed with our faith. Jesus, the apostles and the early Christians had a completely different perspective…a kingdom perspective that is not of this world. In my spirit I sense with confidence that we have entered the paradigm shift of a new wineskin that is being filled with new wine. It will take time for the wine to age, but it’s still good to drink because it comes from The Vine and His fruit is very good.
So, what of this paradigm shift? The “shift” that is before us is one of a transforming movement resulting in the pruning of the Church, the loving and serving of our communities, and the making of disciples. This movement comes out of relationships forged through love at home, work and play. This love draws others into a life in Christ only to be sent into their own world to repeat the cycle and sending out more followers of Christ.
May we cling to the movement of the Spirit and not be hindered by weak movements, methods and models. May we be the image of Christ in the world around us. May that world find us worthy of their friendship. May we humble ourselves to wash their feet.
Polyphemus moth (image taken from web)