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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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How to transform your sanctuary on Easter morning

Paul W. Meier, pastor of St. Matthew by the Lake Lutheran Church, Benton, Ky., shares this project for families and members of all ages.

Reflecting the transformation we encounter
Reflecting the transformation we encounter on Easter morning, paper butterflies hang throughout the sanctuary and perch atop light fixtures at St. Matthew by the Lake Lutheran Church, Benton, Ky.
Members opened their eyes wide as they entered our sanctuary Easter morning. A three-foot long cocoon had erupted in the corner of the chancel, and 200 butterflies danced joyously above our heads as we sang “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today.”

To demonstrate the transformation we encounter as people baptized into the body of Christ, we began with a cocoon. Chicken wire wrapped at the juncture of several tree branches supported the cocoon. Strips of newspaper dipped into a flour-and-water mixture were placed over the wire skeleton. After it dried we spray-painted the cocoon a natural tan color.

Prior to Ash Wednesday, volunteers placed the tree in the chancel. Next to the tree we put a wooden cross of equal height, hanging a crown of thorns at the crossbars. We positioned a large painting of the Crucifixion behind the tree to support the image of death and temporary placement of our earthly body in a tomb. A lamp on the floor cast shadows from the tree onto the picture. Sunday bulletins provided hints about the caterpillar-to-cocoon imagery.

We found a pattern for the butterflies. A copy machine expanded the size of one wing to fill an 8 1/2-by-11-inch piece of paper. Interior openings were cut according to the design. The skeletal framework was at least an inch wide throughout the wing structure. Placing two wings side-by-side completed the design. For stenciling, a pattern was cut from poster board.


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