Story of the day: It’s Empty
Harry Pritchett, Jr. wrote an interesting Easter story in Leadership magazine. It starts out “Once upon a time I had a young friend named Philip. Philip was born with Downs Syndrome. He was a pleasant child-happy it seemed-but increasingly aware of the difference between himself and other children. Philip went to Sunday School at the local church. His teacher, also a friend of mine, taught the third-grade class with Philip and nine other eight-year-old boys and girls.
You know eight-year-olds. And Philip, because of his differences, was not readily accepted. But my teacher friend was creative, and he helped the group of eight-year-olds. They learned, they laughed, they played together. And they really cared about one another, even though eight-year-olds don’t say they care about each other out loud. My teacher friend could see it. He knew it. He also knew that Philip was not really a part of that group. Philip did not choose nor did he want to be different. He just was. And that was just the way things were.
My friend had a marvelous idea for his class the Sunday after Easter last year. You know those things that pantyhose come in-the containers that look like great big eggs-my friend had collected ten of them. The children loved it when he brought them into the room. Each child was to get one. It was a beautiful spring day, and the assignment was for each child to go outside, find a symbol of new life, put it into the egg, and bring it back to the classroom. They would then open and share their new life symbols and surprises one by one.
It was glorious. It was confusing. It was wild. They ran all around the church grounds, gathering their symbols, and returned to the classroom. They put all the eggs on a table, and then the teacher began to open them. All the children stood around the table.
He opened one, and there was a flower, and they oohed and aahed. He opened another, and there was a little butterfly. “Beautiful,” the girls all said, since it’s hard for eight-year-old boys to say “beautiful.” He opened another, and there was a rock. And as third graders will, some laughed, and some said, “That’s crazy! How’s a rock supposed to be like new life?” But the smart little boy who’d found it spoke up: “That’s mine. And I knew all of you would get flowers and buds and leaves and butterflies and stuff like that. So I got a rock because I wanted to be different. And for me, that’s new life.” They all laughed.
My teacher friend said something to himself about the profundity of eight-year-olds and opened the next one. There was nothing there. The other children, said, “That’s not fair–That’s stupid!–Somebody didn’t do it right.”
Then my teacher friend felt a tug on his shirt, and he looked down. Philip was standing beside him. “It’s mine,” Philip said. “It’s mine.”
And the children said, “You don’t ever do things right, Philip. There’s nothing there.
“I did so do it,” Philip said. “I did do it. It’s empty. The tomb is empty!”
There was a silence, a very full silence. And for you people who don’t believe in miracles, I want to tell you that one happened that day last spring. From that time on, it was different. Philip suddenly became a part of that group of eight-year-old children. They took him in. He was set free from the tomb of his differentness.
Philip died the next summer. His family had known since the time he was born that he wouldn’t live out a full life span. Many other things had been wrong with his tiny body. And so, late last July, with an infection that most normal children could have quickly shrugged off, Philip died. They mystery simply enveloped him.
As the funeral, nine eight-year-old children marched up to the altar, not with flowers to cover the stark reality of death. Nine eight-year-olds, with their Sunday school teacher, marched up to the altar, and laid on it an empty egg-an empty, old, discarded pantyhose egg.
Quote of the day: Philip
“The tomb is empty!”
Bible verse of the day: Mark 16:6
“But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
Words cannot explain how grateful I am to You for allowing Your one and only Son to die on a cross. The cross is a bridge from me to You and because of that bridge, I am able to live. You love us so much and all You want in return is for us to acknowledge You and love You the way that You love us! Lord, may this Easter Sunday mark an era for the start of a revival that will soon sweep our nation. I pray that we don’t get stuck in our ways of doing things, yet move out of our seats or our comfortableness, and start shining bright for others to see. I thank You for this day!
In Jesus Name I pray,