Read John 20: 1 – 18
Let me tell you about Philip.
Philip never felt as though he belonged. He was a lovely child, but he looked a bit different and he sometimes seemed unusual to his eight-year-old classmates.
At Junior Church on Palm Sunday, Philip’s teacher introduced a special Easter challenge. He gave every child a hollow “egg”. He explained that they were each to find a symbol of new life, and put it into the egg and bring it back to Church on Easter Sunday.
The class responded enthusiastically!
Back in Junior Church on Easter Sunday morning, the eggs were opened, one at a time, and each child explained the meaning of the item they had chosen as a symbol of new life.
In the first egg was a pretty flower, in the next a beautiful butterfly, while green grass was in a third. The children “oohed” and “aahed”. In another was a rock, which made everyone laugh – and so it went on.
Finally, the last egg was opened. It was empty. There was nothing inside.
“That’s stupid” one child said.
“Someone didn’t do it right!” another grumbled.
The teacher felt a tug on his shirt. It was Philip.
“That’s mine” he said “and I did do it right! It’s empty, because the tomb was empty and that was the sign of Jesus’ new life”.
There was an unusual, thoughtful silence as the truth of this dawned on each of them.
Some time later, Philip, who’d been struggling with illness and physical problems all his life, died.
At his funeral, Philip’s Junior Church class, along with their teacher, brought forward their symbol of remembrance and placed it near Philip’s coffin.
Their unusual gift of love to Philip wasn’t flowers, it was an empty egg. Now, thanks to Philip… this had become a symbol to them of new life, and hope beyond death.
It was Philip, the “different” child, who’d helped his friends to see the real hope of new life in Jesus in the message of Easter.
So, when you tuck into your hollow Easter Eggs, remember that their emptiness is our symbol of new life. Let its ‘emptiness’ remind you of the fullness of God’s promises to us.
Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia!
God bless you this Easter with the promise of the new hope that is found in God’s love, stretched out behind, before and beyond you to surround and hold you.