Cocoons Are for Caterpillars, Not Christians
Driving with my son Andrew is always an adventure. We were cruising along off Taylorsville Lake Road the other day, singing silly songs and laughing all the way. Then we saw them—two deer, a baby and its mother. I pulled over and we just sat and watched this pair of God’s creatures as they walked by a small lake. It was a first for Andrew, who had only seen a real deer on the internet. For city folks like us, this was a real adventure! For Andrew, what he once only knew in photographs had instantly become real, and quite wonderful.
This experience reminds me that when it comes to God’s creation, reality beats imagery every time.
Over the past few years I have become keenly aware of our propensity to accept less than reality in our lives. There is a term for one aspect of this type of life. It is called cocooning. A cocoon is the common name we give to the temporary “home” of a caterpillar as it changes into a butterfly.
Cocooning is also the name given to the trend that sees individuals socializing less and retreating into their home more. It started to become prevalent with the advent of the internet and home computers. But unlike the fuzzy invertebrates that crawl on the tree limbs and emerge from their time as something quite different and beautiful, humans that retreat into their homes for endless hours, rarely if ever engaging with their neighbors and their society, emerge as something quite different than what they were created to be.
Jesus taught that humans are to be a light—not to be hidden away, but to be lifted high so that the light can shine out. Our Western culture has allowed many believers in Jesus to unintentionally wrap themselves up into their fantasies, whereby after school or work they escape, only to emerge the next day a little duller and less vibrant.
As generations of people keep retreating, communicating and relationship-building become more difficult. Instead of learning how to trust and love others, people who cocoon lose the ability to communicate at almost any level. Isolation replaces community, fantasy replaces reality, and aloneness becomes normal. And what of the calling to be light in a dark world? The good news that is supposed to be alive in us, is dimmed and replaced by the lonely glow of the screens that dominate our lives.
To live like Jesus in our world demands that we emerge from these tombs of technology to live in the real light, to become the reflection of the glory of the Lord. You may use your smart phone to text your neighbor, but actually getting out to meet with them and to share life together—that’s living! Instead of seeing life through a filter, life and breath become real and alive!
There is a great scene from the Lord of the Rings series where Théoden, the king of Rohan, has been lulled by a spell into a half-dark world, almost lifeless and empty. But the defining moment happens when Gandalf confronts him, and wakes him from this spell of deceit and darkness. What emerges is a renewed man, a vibrant leader, and someone fully alive.
The gospel is calling each of us to step out in faith and to embrace real life in Jesus. It is time we take hold of our true calling in Christ, to be His light and to share that light with everyone, especially our neighbors.
What will emerge from your life? It can be quite beautiful, if you give it the chance!