Blessing the Butterflies

This content, including photographs except as noted, was contributed by Fawn Palmer of Churchville Presbyterian Church, an Earth Care Congregation in Maryland.

Butterfly in Coneflowers Trinity PCUSA, PA

Photo courtesy of Mary Westervelt, from Nature that Nurtures

Butterflies are God’s confetti, thrown upon the Earth in celebration of…love.   

K. D’Angelo

A  crowd of 50 recently gathered at our church’s Fall Heritage/Family Festival. We tagged six, wild-caught  Monarchs at the Pollinators Garden during the festival.

The Master Gardener volunteers and Soil Conservation Service County Representative were very pleased with how people, young and older, responded. They brought a popular to their caterpillar match 2 adult butterfly/moth light-up big board quiz. Our volunteer children’s storyteller dressed up as a fantasy Monarch also said she’d come back next year.

We released a tagged  Monarch from the open palm of a young girl. We all waved and said “Adios.”

I felt greatly moved by this ceremony, particularly the blessing written and shared by our minister.

“Butterfly Blessing”

In the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central Mexico, Monarch Butterflies hibernate (aestivate) from October to March. In the spring, they leave Mexico and head North to Canada. Except the Monarchs we have here in Maryland are not the same ones that left Mexico back in the spring. These butterflies are the great-grandchildren of those butterflies.

They leave Mexico. They lay eggs. The eggs become caterpillars. The caterpillars become butterflies and the process continues until that last generation is transformed. Then, it somehow knows it’s time to turn South for the winter.

The Monarchs we have here are anxious to get on the road because they have some 2,440 miles yet to travel. They have already put in several hundred nearly.

Butterflies have often been a symbol of faith. Just like Monarchs go through various transformations and rebirth, in their journey home, so do we. We are not the same people we were when we first cried out at our birth. We are changed and reformed. With each new transformation, God makes us into a new being. By the time we make it Home with God, we will be new creations – beautiful and fit for the Kingdom of God.

So, we don’t want to delay these Monarchs for long. We want to visit with them briefly. Thank them for their beauty. Tell them we admire their courage. Then, ask God to bless them on their journey ahead.

Let us do just that:

God of all Creation, Your beauty carries on all around us. We can feel the breeze. We can hear the birds. We can feel the coolness of a waterfall. We can smell the harvesting of hay in the fall and take in the rich scent of soil in the spring. But, often Your Creation carries on silently without our notice and without our permission.

We stop to honor the beauty and the fortitude of these Monarch butterflies. They desire nothing more than to find their way back home, regardless of their location and despite the barriers in their way. May this world be painted with their color and filled with their sacred pride.

Bless these Monarchs with safe travel.

Bless us all with the wisdom to protect them.

May we have the same instinct to follow Your will as readily as they do.

In the name of Christ, the Creator of Life and the Renewer of Souls.


-Blessing by Rev. Dr. Stephen R. Melton
Churchville Presbyterian Church

One Response to “Blessing the Butterflies”

  1. Bonnie Jones

    It is indeed a great blessing to be a part of this spirit filled congregation as we celebrate the 200th Anniversary of our sanctuary! God has given us many examples of faith to follow in the past as well as in the present.


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