Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain.
Most of the time, however, Jeremy just irritated his teacher.As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. Here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared to his, she thought. Lord, please help me to be more patient with Jeremy. From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares.
Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. “I love you, Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris’ face turned red. She stammered … “Wh-why that’s very nice, Jeremy…. N-now please take your seat.
“Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg.
“Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Miss Miller,” the children responded enthusiastically … all except for Jeremy. He listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.
That evening, Doris’ kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse, and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.
The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk.
The next egg contained a plastic butterfly which looked very real.Doris held it up. “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that’s new life, too.”
Little Judy smiled proudly and said,“Miss Miller, that one is mine.”
Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty.
Surely it must be Jeremy’s she thought, and of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents.
Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.
Suddenly, Jeremy spoke up.
“Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?”
Flustered, Doris replied, “But Jeremy, your egg is empty.”
He looked into her eyes and said softly …
“Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty, too.”
When she could speak again, Doris asked him,
“Do you know why the tomb was empty?”
“Oh, yes,” Jeremy said, “Jesus was killed and put in there.
Then His Father raised Him up.”
While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard …
Doris cried…The cold inside her melted completely away.
Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see
Music – We are the Reason