This week I found a newly “hatched” Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly in the garden. It was working mightily to unfold its newly liberated wings. I am not sure, but it is possible there was some defect in one wing as it seemed to be excessively crumpled. The butterfly was struggling to hold on to a leaf while, at the same time, get that one wing to deploy for its intended purpose. I watched for a few minutes. It seemed not to be going well. I wondered how things would work out. While otherwise robust and healthy appearing, one crumpled wing may be this butterfly’s undoing. I watched for a while longer and then walked away. I left the butterfly to its struggle for life on its own.
All around me, crumpled lives are struggling to find a chance in our culture and society to unfold successfully. Unlike the butterfly in my garden, my faith does not allow me to walk away. Too often the people I observe are not crumpled by their own doing. Too often they are crumpled by systemic forces determined to prevent success. Too often they are crumpled by malevolent powers that purposely seek to prevent success. Too often they are crumpled by injustices allowed, intentionally or unintentionally, to proliferate in our culture and society, preventing success. Too often they are crumpled by the denial of access to the resources needed to promote success. The story of our faith does not offer the option to walk away from the crumpled. Indeed, as crumpled people ourselves, saved/served by the unmerited grace of God, we are challenged to serve those whose lives are crumpled.
Truly Lord, when did I serve you?
When you served the crumpled you served me.
What is it God expects of us? To do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.