Cicadas and the Second Coming {...a repost from the archives...}

I heard the first cicadas of the summer season last night, and everything in me wanted to celebrate and mark the occasion.

But how?

Then I remembered the following post.  Hope you enjoy what I dusted off out of the archives today:




The Bible says in Romans that all of creation declares to us God's invisible qualities. Nature declares His attributes and power. This has given me great pause, over the years, as I try to figure out the message of each created thing. 

The rainbow speaks of the promise of God to Noah. The rainbow reveals the complexity of a God who is full of paradox. The rainbow speaks of justice and mercy, of law and grace.  It speaks of a God who said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and then told a prophet to marry a prostitute. 

That arch of color in the sky tells of a God who predestined me to salvation, and yet also infers life-altering significance to my choices. There can be no rainbow without opposites coming together. There is no prism of color without sunshine and rain present together, at the same time.

There are those created things with obvious messages, like rainbows and eagles and oak trees. Oak trees - those trees of righteousness, silent sentinels to the fact that even what God plants can sometimes take a lifetime to grow very large.

But my real obsession is with the Great Mystery of the Periodical Cicada

What.  the.  heck. can the cicada tell me about God?

Cicadas are harmless. They are nature's longest lived insect. I love the sound they make, so long as their numbers are not of plague proportions. They hatch, and burrow underground as nymphs, only to reemerge 13 or 17 years later, transform overnight into adults, reproduce and die.

What the...?? I'm stumped to consider the fact that a whole brood of periodical cicadas were under my grass, the whole time I was birthing my babies and teaching them to read. They were there, waiting, throughout the entire grueling process of my twin daughters receiving their driver's licenses.

And there are more, right there, underground, right now. They will hatch when I am, like, old.  

Kinda creeps me out.

If you look closely at the wings of a cicada, you might see the letter "W" or the letter "P". An old wives tale says that if the emerging insects have the "W", then there will be a war, and if a "P", why then we will have peace of course. Never mind the fact that there have been wars somewhere in the world since time and cicadas both began. 

I can understand the confusion - since the Bible does say that creation declares the mind and ways of God. Those old wives were just reading a bit too much into the whole cicada thing. They told their tale as though it were gospel truth.

Come to think of it, I know some televangelists who are no different. I wonder what they'd say about these mysterious insects, belonging to the genus magicicada? I'd almost guarantee you they'd find a message in there somewhere about the Second Coming.

Some folks eat cicadas. There is an actual cook book entitled The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook by David George Gordon

His book tells me that cicadas are nutty in flavor, and he gives me a recipe for Cicada Pizza. He also strongly recommends a certain fine wine to accompany the distinct insect flavors, but also advises me to drink it during the entire cooking process, well before I sit down to eat..."to fortify myself".

I've always believed that if sex or a meal has to be much-improved by the wine, then it is time for me to get suspicious. I prefer to be in full command of my reason, in the midst of either activity.

But back to Romans 1. Back to rainbows, oak trees, and the periodical cicada. My pastor-husband speculated, off the cuff, that the cicada might speak to us of God's persecuted, underground church. Surely the cicada's message can't be that obvious, though it is a thought. 

The poor man was just indulging one of my artsy-fartsy questions in the first place. He has given me other ideas and answers to my random questions that were accurate and even profound. So I have no reason to question his intuition on insects, but I do question it.

Until I can come up with something better, however, The Preacher's best guess will have to stand. 

What an enigma. Each thing in creation - the Bible says all of it - tells us something about God. Stars and even the periodical cicada have a message. 

If you figure out what that message is, please tell me. I won't eat them until I know for sure.
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