By Andrew Weygandt
How are ugly things made beautiful? An awkward bird spends his whole life teased and tormented for being so hideous, and then one morning the ugly duckling wakes up to find himself a swan. Such stories intrigue me. They contain some special element that moves me. There is a great metamorphosis and suddenly everything is made right. Put it however you like: the ugly is made beautiful, the useless finds purpose, or fate turns to fortune. Somehow this dramatic twist catches my heart’s desire.
We see this pattern happening all around us. The story of Susan Boyle is not just good television—it taps something universal inside of us. We see it in nature when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. I hear black sapote looks like death but tastes like chocolate pudding. Isn’t that wonderful? Extreme Makeover: Home Edition took just a few days to transform a family’s ramshackle house into a luxurious home. Does anyone else start to sniffle when they yell, “Bus driver, move that bus,”? Why does this move me? What makes these stories great? Why do I long for even greater transformations? Transformation is bursting at the seams with new hope. Hope was lost and now it is found. I would wait on tiptoe for such a thing!
There is a universal longing for transformation, for metamorphosis. It is a longing for redemption. The Bible is full of redemptive images. The first man, Adam, is said to be gathered up from dirt. The first woman, made from a man’s rib. (I think we can all agree things went from ugly to beautiful there!) Keep on reading: Moses strikes a rock, and water flows from it. Joseph’s slavery transforms into kingship. Even King David’s sin is part of Jesus’ family history. When it comes to the business of redemption, God has a corner on the market. He monopolizes on every single chance He gets.
This week many Christians around the world are celebrating Holy Week. It marks the week leading up to Easter. Christians somehow find life in an ancient symbol of Roman torture, the cross. We celebrate how Jesus’ death leads to our life. Our sin must lead to death. It always does, and so Jesus has to die—not because he sinned. Rather, Jesus must die for our sins, and His innocence makes it all the more gruesome. Every story we know ends right there… with death. It is always the final word in our world. Every one of our lives ends with this gloomy equalizer. Yet every desire we have begs for more. Our universal longing for hints at another ending. “Can something this ugly be made beautiful?” “Can we see another metamorphosis?” “Is there hope for redemption even here… in death?” Jesus’ resurrection changes everything. The great metamorphosis is just that. It is Easter. Through his death Jesus offers the world new life! How can Jesus take ugliness and make it so beautiful?
If you would like to explore this theme further, then come tomorrow (Friday, April 6th) to our Good Friday Experience at the Main Street Centre in Old Littleton. The address is: 2629 West Main Street — Littleton, CO 80120. Doors will be open from 6-8pm, so come whenever you’d like. It should take about 30mins to walk through, and the experience will be kid-friendly.