The Day Phillip Joined the Group
I received the following in an email from my Mother-in-Law.
(o: Thanks Myrna :o)
I think this might be inspirational for anyone who takes the time to read it.
I hope that you find encouragement within these words
to help you stay on God's narrow path and think about others.
This is a story by Paul Harvey
with acknowledgement to Rev. Harry Pritchett Jr.,
director of All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta,
who called Mr.Harveys attention to a boy named Phillip ...
He was 9--in a Sunday school class of 8-year olds. Eight-year-olds can be cruel. The third-graders did not welcome Phillip to their group. Not just because he was older. He was "different." He suffered from Down's Syndrome and its obvious manifestations: facial characteristics, slow responses, symptoms of retardation. One Sunday after Easter, the Sunday school teacher gathered some of those plastic eggs that pull apart in the middle -- the kind in which some ladies' pantyhose are packaged. The Sunday school teacher gave one of these plastic eggs to each child. On that beautiful spring day each child was to go outdoors and discover for himself some symbol of "new life" and place that symbolic seed or leaf or whatever inside his egg. They would then open their eggs one by one, and each youngster would explain how his find was a symbol of "new life." So ... The youngsters gathered 'round on the appointed day and put their eggs on a table, and the teacher began to open them.
One child had found a flower. All the children "oohed" and "aahed" at the lovely symbol of new life. In another was a butterfly. "Beautiful," the girls said. And it's not easy for an 8-year-old to say "beautiful". Another egg opened to reveal a rock. Some of the children laughed. "That's crazy!" one said. "How's a rock supposed to be like a new life?'". Immediately a little boy spoke up and said, "That's mine. I knew everybody would get flowers and leaves and butterflies and all that stuff, so I got a rock to be different." Everyone laughed. The teacher opened the last one, and there was nothing in it. "That's not fair," someone said. "That's stupid," said another. The teacher felt a tug on his shirt. It was Phillip. Looking up he said, "It's mine. I did it. It's empty. I have new life because the tomb is empty." The class fell silent. From that day on Phillip became part of the group. They welcomed him. Whatever had made him different was never mentioned again. Phillip's family had known he would not live a long life; just too many things wrong with the tiny body. That summer, overcome with infection, Phillip died. On the day of his funeral nine 8-year-old boys and girls confronted the reality of death and marched up to the altar--not with flowers. Nine children with their Sunday school teacher placed on the casket of their friend their gift of love - an empty egg ...
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