A chicken teaches a lesson of faith at Easter

Published 6:18 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019


Religion Columnist

I love Easter stories. I found this one written way back on March 1, 2008 by Isabel Wolseley Torrey in Guideposts. I hope you enjoy this abbreviated version (search the title above to read the whole story).  Here’s her story:

Email newsletter signup

I looked forward to teaching the lesson of the egg in my Sunday school class as Easter approached, but when I asked the children where eggs came from the answer surprised me.

“Bunnies!” all 12 students shouted.

Bunnies? I thought. Could these kids be so far removed from nature they actually think rabbits lay eggs? My own chickens would have been insulted.

“It’s on TV,” one of the girls explained. “A white rabbit lays chocolate eggs.” 

As I cared for my chickens I got the bright idea that I could bring one of my chickens and her eggs to church, and the kids could witness the miracle of new life on Easter.  Then I doubted I should ever take a chicken to church. I remembered Jesus’ own words in the Gospel of Matthew 23:37, “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,” and decided Henny Penny and I were going to church with her twelve eggs. 

“Guess what’s inside this box,” I asked the kids as they came in for Sunday School.  They guessed bunnies, kittens and puppies. 

When I opened the box and they saw  Penny and her eggs they were thrilled. A boy poked one of the shells with a pudgy finger. “How can she sit on them?” he asked. “They’re hard!”

“Penney wants her babies very much,” I said. “She’s willing to go through hard things. Just like your mother did before you were born. God puts love into all parents’ hearts — even chicken parents.”  Now that the children had seen the eggs, I offered them a deal. “Penney has laid 12 eggs. That’s one for each of you,” I said. “You have a choice what to do with your egg. You can take it home and have your mom cook it for breakfast…”  The children giggled.  “Or I can bring Penney back next week and you can see your eggs turn into babies!”  Not one child voted for an omelet. By the following week the children had told all their friends and we were expecting a big crowd. 

I promised, I thought as I got ready for bed on Saturday night. Should I have been so confident the children would see chicks on Easter?  Doubts went through her mind as she thought of all the things that could go wrong.  Then I remembered, the hatching of a chicken was God’s work, not mine.  I prayed, “God, please let at least one egg hatch for them. “

When I got to church I was surprised to see that everyone was there for Sunday School and the chance to see Penny’s eggs.  Even the pastor came over to see what was going on. “It’s an expectant hen,” I told him, blushing. “I thought the children would like to see the eggs hatch.”

“What a perfect way to illustrate today’s sermon.” he said. “Would you bring Penney into the church?”

So much for keeping Penny under wraps, I thought as a pack of children cheered and followed me into the sanctuary. They plunked themselves on the stage at the front of the church. Okay, God, I thought as I lifted the lid. Time for an Easter miracle!

A gasp went up. There was Penney with not one but six wobbly chicks. Three were already dried and fluffy as dandelion down. The other three were still wet from their shells. Two more eggs were nearly cracked in half, the babies just emerging. The last four eggshells showed tiny holes where miniature beaks were pecking.  One little girl asked, “How did you get the eggs to hatch right on Easter?”

“God decides when the eggs hatch,” I said. “He knew this was the right time!”  And just the right place — right in his own house, where all new life begins.

I hope you enjoyed that story.  God’s miracles are happening all around us all the time. Pray that you will have the eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand the wonderful and mighty acts of God going on around you.

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles go to lagrangepres.com.