Little Anders was radiant as he skipped up to the front of the church.
The teacher, carrying mysteriously covered paper cups, asked:
“Who is brave enough to do a job?”
The energetic arm of Anders shot up into the sky, beating every other arm belonging to the age-eight-and-under crowd.
Unknowingly, the teacher passed him by. A curly, freckled blonde girl was handed a cup. A little boy with a shiny, scrubbed face grabbed a cup. The tanned kids that just got back from Florida held their cups. Eager boys and quiet girls got cups.
[ Note: There was a little girl in the crowd that didn’t want a cup or a brave job. Six-year-old Anna was smart enough not to volunteer for an uncertain task…besides, she didn’t know if the job would interfere with her family’s after-church dinner plans… ]
But Anders never got a cup.
One by one, the numbered cups were opened and tiny Easter tokens were discovered inside: a purple piece of cloth, a stone, a dice, a rubber band whip and a thorny twig were all uncovered and explained in the Resurrection Day picture lesson.
And the last cup — symbolizing the Tomb of Jesus — was empty.
We watched as Anders’ big eyes looked around at all of the lucky cupbearers.
The teacher dismissed the little people. The smiling parade left Anders behind, who lingered at the podium.
He whispered, “But I said I would be brave.”
Then, with big eyes that looked a little watery, he slipped into the back row.
I can’t stop thinking about Anders. I want to buy a whole box of paper cups, fill them up and bring them to church next week — for Anders.
He needs to know someone cares. He needs to know we were watching him and felt his pain.
And, he needs to get a special gift, above what he expected.
After all, that’s what Easter is all about.