When I first heard of Rachel Held Evans, I was already publishing books and articles and pastoring a church. We weren’t the same age, of the same ethnicity, from the same country, with the same background or church experience, and of course I wasn’t even a speck in her huge following. Yet when I retweeted one of the many reviews for Searching for Sunday, Rachel noticed, sent a tweet back, called me by name, and started following me too.
When I heard Rachel had been hospitalized, I joined the many others who were praying for her, and was so shocked and saddened when I heard that she had passed away. At the age of 37. Leaving behind a husband and two young children. With so many praying and now mourning her loss, I valued her voice and will miss her keen observations, wit, and willingness to reach out to others.
As I scanned the newspaper that night, I noticed an ad for a butterfly pin to commemorate the life of someone who has touched your life. It reminded me again of Rachel and of all those who have touched my life and are no longer with us. It reminded me of the women at my church who made a gorgeous butterfly quilt that’s used in the final farewell when a resident leaves a nearby seniors’ home for the last time.
I’m thinking of butterflies again today since I have pictures to share from the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge, Ontario. My visit last month was a beautiful sacred pause before I spoke at the annual church gathering for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. My text was Psalm 27, so I’ve added in selected verses below for a reflective photo essay.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly. – Richard Bach
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