Children cannot grasp how incredible Christ’s Resurrection is until they can understand the concept of someone dying, Carter said.
The cocoons help illustrate the concept of death, she said.
The Rev. Leah Hrachovec, associate pastor at First Presbyterian in Stillwater, said it is often hard for children to imagine that beautiful winged butterflies will someday emerge from the shriveled, unattractive cocoons.
"Just when you think something is dead and has no hope, new life comes,” Hrachovec said.
"It’s a metaphor for the very real journey that we follow with Jesus on the cross. It looked hopeless for Jesus and His disciples, but God transformed Jesus’ death into the Resurrection and produced the miracle that we know.”
New life emerges
Late last week, painted lady butterflies began emerging from the cocoons at all three churches and the church leaders said the children were thrilled.
"We’ve talked about how Jesus rose and how it is a rebirth of us,” Carter said. "The butterflies are colorful, more visually stimulating than the caterpillars so they can see this change. When Jesus rose, He rose to a more magnificent state and they can imagine that.”
Powell-Maxwell said she has based her recent children’s sermons on the caterpillars and butterflies.
"It’s just become such a great teaching tool,” she said. "It’s become a symbol of new life as it applies to all our lives.”
Hrachovec shared similar sentiments about the winged insects.
As she imagines the butterflies eventually flying free along the grounds of her Stillwater church, Hrachovec said she knows that many youths will recall the recent lessons they have watched unfold about Jesus and the Easter story.
"It’s an encouragement to us to live our lives as witnesses to the Resurrection — and to reflect God’s grace,” she said.