A young couple had an eight-year-old son named Michael. What made him different from other children was that he had little or no immune system and thus he was susceptible to infection and disease. He was also small and frail for his age.
He was being home-schooled because he could neither keep up nor play with the other children as he was so vulnerable to infections. His parents knew they could either keep him isolated, and thus safe, or let him live and play as other children did, even though doctors warned them that he would not likely survive because of his low resistance to infection and disease. They decided, however, to let him play as other children. His parents were counseled concerning their decision to ensure they understood the consequences of their decision to let him live and experience life beyond the walls of his home.
They began by going to church, where they let him attend a Sunday school classes with nine other eight-year-olds. His counselor asked to attend the class as an observer to evaluate his progress with the rest of the children. They had a very creative Sunday school teacher, and he soon realized that the other children were not accepting Michael into the group, because of his illness. He was different, but he didn't want to be different. Thus became the mission and priority, of the teacher to intervene...
On Easter Sunday morning, the Sunday school teacher, gave each child a plastic Easter egg that they could open and put things inside. He told the children in the class that they were to go out on the church grounds and find some symbol of Easter, some symbol of new life, and put it in their plastic Easter egg. They were instructed to bring the eggs back to the classroom where they would open each of them to share with one another.
It was a glorious event. Children, in their Easter clothes, running all over the church campus, looking for symbols of Easter and putting them in their plastic Easter egg, running back into the classroom, eager to share with the class what they had found.
When they had all returned to their seats, the teacher started to open them. The first was one with a flower, and the children applauded. Another one had a butterfly, and they oooed and ahhed. The teacher continued opening other Easter eggs. Then he came to one egg and when he opened it up, it was empty! And the children began saying, "Oh, how stupid!"
"Someone didn't do it right." The teacher felt a slight tug on his sleeve. Glancing down, he noticed it was Michael, with a very earnest expression on his face. He said, "That's my egg! And I did do it right! The tomb is empty!"
An incredible silence fell over that classroom. It seemed a miracle came over that classroom that day. The children began to look at Michael in a new way, through admirable eyes. They let him be a part of the group, and he was himself, released from his tomb!
Later that summer, Michael died. He had become exposed to Chicken Pox and his frail body could not survive such an invasion. At his funeral, the church was filled. Many of them were children coming to their first funeral. Sitting in the front pew were the nine children from his Sunday school class, along with their teacher. They marched up together to his casket, and, instead of putting flowers in his casket, they placed one...empty...plastic egg. They knew he was once again released from his tomb.
By William Stephenson, Ph.D.