The Message of the Mayfly

The Message of the Mayfly

Sunday, September 17, 2023
| Matthew 18:21-35

What can a short-lived insect teach us about practicing forgiveness? Jesus knew the answer.

“We exist no longer than mayflies.” That’s what Su Shih, a Chinese scholar and poet, wrote in the year 1082.

Maybe you have seen a mayfly, but not for long. They are insects with very short lifespans. You might say they are “ephemeral,” meaning they are transitory. Because of their brief lifespans, the Greek philosopher Aristotle called them “ephemeron.”

Although they have short lives, mayflies have been around forever. “Mayflies are the oldest surviving winged insects on the planet,” reports The Washington Post Magazine. A Harvard paleobiologist “discovered a mayfly impression from some 300 million years ago.” And where did he find it? In a rock, behind a strip mall in Massachusetts.

An important find, but not a great location.

Mayflies are unique creatures, both ephemeral and ancient. They have also been an inspiration to generations of artists and poets. Mayflies are mentioned in the “Epic of...

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