I have heard it said that the uglier the caterpillar, the more beautiful the butterfly. I don’t know if that’s true, but there is something miraculous about the change that takes place in the life of a “worm” as it emerges from its self-imposed prison.
When I think about this amazing transformation, I stand in awe of a God who could design a process in which a worm-like larva would wrap itself in a cocoon and emerge as a beautiful butterfly. If God does such miracles every day with insects, I can only imagine what God can do for those of us created in his own image.
The Christian Reformed Church has a dream—a vision of what God is doing in us and what he calls us to become. That dream is summarized in the words of our vision statement: “The Christian Reformed Church is a diverse family of healthy congregations, assemblies, and ministries expressing the good news of God’s kingdom that transforms lives and communities worldwide.”
At the heart of our vision is transformation—transformation of lives and, in turn, the transformation of communities. As a servant of the church, I not only share that vision, I embrace it as my own.
When I think of transformed lives, I envision the metamorphosis of the caterpillar. It reminds me that when the church talks of “transforming lives and communities worldwide,” we are not simply talking about helping people make minor changes or adjustments to their lives. Rather, we are talking about lives that morph into something new—something quite different than they were before.
In one version of “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed,” Isaac Watts posed this question: “Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?”
I used to choke on those words. I had trouble thinking of myself as a worm. But if God loves a worm enough to create a butterfly, imagine what he can do for those filled with his own breath.
We in the Christian Reformed Church are renewing our commitment to be used by God as agents of transformation. We are dedicating ourselves and our ministries to transforming lives and communities around the world.
Each day brings new opportunities for life-changing service. As the church at work, we know that the Holy Spirit works not only through Sunday worship and biblical teaching and preaching, but through the works of our hands every day. By touching one life at a time, entire communities can be renewed by the Holy Spirit.
It happens when someone picks up a Today devotional in a restaurant or when a person wearing a green CRWRC shirt knocks on the door of a hurricane-ravaged home.
It happens when a 3-year-old proudly displays her Sunday school paper on the kitchen fridge. It happens when a world missionary explains to a Muslim man in western Africa who the “Lamb of God” is.
It happens when a congregation opens its doors and hearts to a changing community. It happens when a Calvin College student sees for the first time how faith and learning interact or when a seminary student is declared a candidate for ministry. It happens when each of us becomes the church at work.
We are people of transformation. Having been transformed by the power and will of God, can we do anything less than become agents of transformation in the lives of others? We, being transformed into Christ’s likeness, become as Christ to the world: God’s humble servants.
About the Author
Jerry Dykstra served as the executive director of the Christian
Reformed Church in North America from 2006-2011.