Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Butterflies, a Lesson in Diversity

One day, I saw 3 different butterflies in my garden, a monarch, a yellow one, and one black with a row of yellow spots on its wings. I was reminded of diversity and how God loves everyone equally, whether they are Christians, Jews, Gentiles, Moslems, Buddhists, etc. In my reading of the Old Testament I have run across many passages where God recognized righteousness in a gentile and acted accordingly. The most notable is the story of Sarah and Abraham with the king Abimelech (Genesis, Chapter 20). Abraham told the king that Sarah was his sister because she was very beautiful and he was afraid that the king would kill him if he knew that she was really his wife.  Sure enough, the king, believing them to be brother and sister, made plans to marry her. Now God knows the hearts of all men and He knew that the king was righteous. So God communicated with him in a dream and warned him that he was about to commit adultery. King Abimelech was aghast! He called Abraham and asked, “Why did you not tell me she was your wife?”  He then sent husband and wife away from his palace. The same thing happened a generation later with Isaac and his wife Rebecca. All of this happened before the Law of Moses; and before the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God was always there for all of His children; He always loved them and always rewarded righteousness whenever He saw it.
Speaking of the Bible, in January 2011, at God’s command, I started reading it. I read a little every day from the Old and New Testaments and from Psalms and other books of poetry. By the summer of 2012 I had read the entire Bible.
What to do next? Read it again, perhaps a different translation, perhaps in a different order. So I borrowed a Bible from my church, which has a different translation than mine. The translation of my Bible is the New American Standard Bible, written in 1963.  The Bible from church is the New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989. I asked my priest if I could borrow it and assured him that I would take it from a part of the church where not too many people sit. He immediately said, jokingly, “Take it from the front pew then”. So I did but the one I picked had been used frequently! Its pages were a little worn.   I immediately thought of all the people who may have sat in the front row. The front row is reserved for special services, such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings, installations of vestry and other church groups, like the Daughters of the King. How many new mothers had fingered the pages of this bible, which I now hold in my hands, during their child’s baptism? How many mothers and fathers of brides and grooms held it while they wept tears of joy? How many people of all ages read from it while waiting for the Bishop to lay hands on them for confirmation? Having this Bible in my house means that they are all with me as part of the communion of saints. Their faith, belief and knowledge of God’s truth multiply and strengthen my own. How wonderful!
Pictures show a monarch butterfly on my butterfly milkweed plant. Getting these butterflies to pose for pictures isn’t easy, but if I take enough pictures, I will eventually catch them in the pose I want. I wanted the butterfly with its wings open. It finally stayed still long enough for me to snap that photo. In the meantime, I did get several other interesting poses which I am sharing with you. I like the one with its wings closed completely. If one saw it sideways, it would look like a black line on top of a bug’s head!

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