My last post – Monday night – was titled “Plain” for two reasons. 1 – I didn’t have much of a point to make. I hadn’t spent much time simmering that entry. It was just a simple, plain post. 2 – In his sermon, Pastor Jim explained that some people refer to that passage from Luke as Jesus’ sermon from the plain.
Imagine how tickled I was when I went to babysit Ginny and found this book at the top of her collection.
Percival is a plain, brown caterpillar and he spends his time observing how all of his friends are soooo much more colorful than he is.
In Luke, Chapter 6, Jesus talks about the blessed. This passage is easily mistaken for the Sermon on the Mount and the Beattitudes, found in Matthew, Chapter 5. Yet….as Pastor Jim pointed out, this is not a sermon from a mount. Luke 6:17….
17 He went down with them and stood on a level place.
It was a sermon from a plain. (a large area of flat land with few trees)
“It’s a pity you’re so plain instead.” …croaked Frederick Frog to Percival.
The sermon from the plain is shorter than the sermon from the mount….4 “Blesseds Are” versus 8. The sermon from the plain includes “woes”. Pastor Jim preached, the sermon from the plain is much more bodily, visceral, tangible than the sermon from the mount (which is about being meek, merciful, pure in heart)…..
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
Jesus is talking about and TO the poor, the hungry, the weeping, the hated.
He is talking from down on the plain. Jesus is talking at their level.
“I’m just Percival the plain little caterpillar,” said Percival sadly….to Lucy Ladybird.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
I have heard it said of Jesus and scripture, it/he comforts the distressed and distresses the comfortable. Pastor Jim called it “flipping the script.”
Percival wished he was blue like Dennis Dragonfly. He admired Lizzie Lizard’s bright, pink tongue. He felt even plainer when he saw Lizzie’s pretty purple patterns that sparkled in the sunlight. Bella Bumblebee told him, “All colors are lovely!” And he fell asleep dreaming of colors.
I have imagined I was asleep in a dark cocoon. I’ve said I am waiting patiently to metamorphosize into the beautiful butterfly. Our Christian teachings tell us we must die and be born again. It’s all true for me. I want to shed the old self that is not helpful to me. And yet………????………
That is sweet Ginny’s hand holding the book while I read it. The last page:
Percival slept for a very long time. He dreamed of green and red and blue and pink and purple and yellow. And when he woke up, something wonderful had happened! Percival was a beautiful butterfly! His wings glittered with gorgeous colors. And no one ever said he was plain again.
Why did THAT ending make me sad? Probably the same reason the ending of Grease always makes me sad.
Why did Sandy feel like she had to change? Why did Percival feel like it was not enough to be plain and brown?
Yesterday my dear coworker, Elisa, offered to get us frozen yogurt. She took our orders. I ordered “what ever is the most plain yogurt”. I like plain yogurt because it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients which I mix into it.
Plain absolutely is beautiful.
A person can be plain. A stage of life can be plain.
Colorful butterflies are beautiful. Brown caterpillars are beautiful. Happy, shiny people are beautiful. Heart-broken, tired people are beautiful.
You are beautiful and needed and loved. I am beautiful and needed and loved.
Here is my favorite song of all time (not necessarily relevant…I just like this song)….
…Interesting that she’s walking on sunshine in a foggy day…I guess perception is reality.