Joy lives

A bottle full of dead leaves offers an opportunity to remember our Savior’s resurrection.

Jane Schlenvogt-Dew

“There was a cocoon inside,” he claimed. It was a large plastic bottle full of leaves. Reaction in the classroom was subdued. We didn’t see it. Even turning the bottle and peering in at every angle brought no satisfaction. We never did see it, even as the leaves dried up and turned brown. Fall turned into winter. The bottle was set aside in the classroom library, forgotten in the busyness of classroom life.

It was an April Wednesday seven months later. First- and second-graders had just returned from a long Easter weekend. Our new study was insects, and, after an introductory story, it was a satisfying moment as peace settled in over the classroom while all were busy creating fanciful stories about how the zebra butterfly got his stripes or why the morph moth turned blue.

From the back of the room I heard a soft whoosh. I looked up to see something black make a wide swoop just over the heads of the children then land on the classroom window. No one else seemed to notice; heads bowed intently over their stories. I was quite puzzled as to where it had come from when all the windows and doors were closed.

An idea came to me, and I quietly stepped to the library and picked up the abandoned bottle. All appeared unchanged until I noticed on the inside a few drops of fluid. That was all. But somehow I knew.

I softly called to Brian and held up the bottle. He looked up, then instantly dropped his head and said, “Go ahead, you might as well throw it away. Nothing is going to happen.” I calmly called to him again and pointed to the window where the creature rested. Hope appeared in his eyes. Then a broad smile broke across his face.

What happened? Research answered our questions: The hummingbird moth drinks the nectar of flowers such as honeysuckle, just like those in Brian’s home flower garden. It hides its eggs in fall leaves, and the adults emerge the following spring!

This was also a wonderful opportunity to teach more than insects! After his crucifixion, Jesus was laid in the grave in a very dark hour. That was it; his followers looked for nothing more. They went home. Only Jesus did not stay in his tomb. Three days later he rose. Life came from a body everyone knew to be dead.

How thoroughly I enjoyed the gasps, smiles, and lights in the eyes of the children. We saw that life had emerged from what we all had thought was just dead leaves. How thoroughly God must enjoy the gasps, smiles, and lights in the hearts of his children as faith in the Savior comes alive! How much joy there will be as we too are made alive again for eternity. “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).

Jane Schlenvogt-Dew is a member at St. Andrew, Middleton, Wisconsin. 



Do you have a manuscript, idea, or story from your own life you’d like to share for use in Forward in Christ or on Use our online form to share it to our editorial office for consideration.


Get inspirational stories, spiritual help, and synod news from  Forward in Christ every month. Print and digital subscriptions are available from Northwestern Publishing House.


Author: Jane Schlenvogt-Dew
Volume 102, Number 9
Issue: September 2015

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us