Easter’s Simple Message

Easter's Light
Easter’s Light

Little Philip was born

with Down’s syndrome

according

to the Leadership Magazine.

Yet he liked to attend

his Sunday School class

with other eight-year-old boys and girls.

 

Sadly, however

and maybe typical of that age,

the children did not

readily accept Philip

with his differences.

 

 

Nevertheless,

because of a creative teacher,

they began to care about Philip

and accept him

as part of the group;

though it has to be said

possibly not completely.

 

Not that is

until that Sunday.

 

For on Easter Sunday,

the teacher brought

in a load of cheap plastic egg cups.

 

Each child received

one of these cups

plus a round paper cover

like a stone.

 

They were then told

to go outside

into that lovely spring day

and find some symbol

for new life.

 

This was to be put

in the bowl of the container

before covering it

with the lid.

 

 

Once this was done,

they were all

to reassemble

in the church hall

where they would

share their finds

by uncovering the cups

individually

in surprise fashion.

 

Well after running

about the church grounds

in wild confusion,

the kids returned

to the hall

and placed the containers

on the table.

 

Then surrounded

by eager breathless faces,

the teacher began

to uncover them

one by one.

 

As each cup

revealed its treasure,

whether a flower,

butterfly or leaf,

the class would ooh and ahh.

 

That was true

even for the slug

that emerged from one.

 

Then one was opened,

revealing nothing inside.

 

The children exclaimed,

“That’s stupid.

That’s not fair.

Somebody didn’t do

what they were told.

 

” Philip spoke up,

“That’s mine.”

 

“Philip, you don’t ever

do things right!”

a fellow classmate retorted.

 

“There’s nothing there!”

 

I did so do it,”

Philip insisted.

“I did do it right.

It’s empty

because the tomb was empty!”

 

Silence followed.

 

From then on

Philip became a full member

of the class.

Sadly, he died

not long afterward

from an infection

most normal children

would have shrugged off.

 

At the funeral

that class of eight-year-olds

marched up

to the altar

but not with flowers.

 

Instead they,

each in turn,

lay down an empty egg cup.

 

 

Little Philip

reminds us

that the Easter message

is not complicated.

 

Instead it is very simple.

 

What is that message?

 

Dr. George Sweeting

tells of an incident

in the early 1920s

when Communist leader

Nikolai Bukharin

was sent

from Moscow to Kiev

to address an anti-God rally.

 

For an hour

he abused and ridiculed

the Christian faith

until it seemed

as if

the whole structure of belief

was in ruins.

 

He gave

powerfully logical arguments

why we shouldn’t have faith in God.

 

He rationalised

Persuasively

against trusting Jesus

for life beyond life.

 

Then questions were invited.

 

An Orthodox Church priest

rose and asked to speak.

 

He turned,

faced the people,

and gave the Easter greeting

, “He is risen!”

 

Instantly the assembly

rose to its feet

and the reply

came back loud and clear,

“He is risen indeed!”

 

 

Here then

is the simple Easter message

for today and tomorrow

and tomorrow’s tomorrow.

 

Here is the simple message

best seen simply.

 

Here is the divine foolishness

s that surmounts

all human wisdom.

 

And it is – Christ is risen,

Christ has risen

and Christ is risen indeed! –

and so,

in our emptiness,

shall we –

so shall we indeed!

 

Amen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *