The Empty Muffin

A few Sundays ago I was in worship at the church my husband serves. One of my grandsons was sitting between me and his mom. He leaned over and asked her if next Sunday would be Empty Tomb Muffin Sunday. She looked in the bulletin then looked on her phone at the minutes of the Christian Education meeting she attends. Nope, it was going to be on Palm Sunday.

Now, you know, of course, what the empty tomb means. But perhaps you are not familiar with the muffins based on the theme. I have helped with these a few times at this church and they are a sticky, gooey, delicious mess. Here is what you do. Separate crescent shaped tube rolls into their eight triangles. Dip a large marshmallow in butter and then in cinnamon and sugar. Place the marshmallow in the center of the roll and roll the dough around the marshmallow so that it is completely encased (this is very important). You may need to use a little of the butter to help seal the edges. Place the rolls on parchment paper and bake them as indicated on the container. You have probably already figured out what happens. While they are baking, the marshmallow melts but it melts slowly enough that the roll holds its shape and leaves an “empty tomb” on the inside.

The children love the rolls and love the story that goes with it. A couple of years ago I was helping out on this day and the young teachers had thought making the rolls would take the whole Sunday School time. It did not. So, I improvised (this was not my first time at the Sunday School rodeo.) I grabbed a big basket and placed it in front of a large table. I had the children tell me about the big rock that was rolled in front of Jesus tomb. Then we rolled the “stone” away. The children took turns being inside the “tomb” and “disappearing” while the rest of us retold the story. By the time I pulled the basket away, they had slipped out from the side of the table and the “tomb” was empty. These kindergarteners and first graders did not grow tired of taking their turn.

“Look! The muffin is empty!” “Look, our friend has disappeared and the “tomb” is empty!” The story of the savior of the world winning out over evil, being resurrected as he said he would be, showing once and for all God’s intention of love and salvation and new life for the world should never grow old for us as well. When you read this note, another Easter will be behind us. You may be pretty much passed out on your couch. Perhaps you are trying to figure out what to do with the lilies that no one picked up yesterday. Maybe you are wondering why they weren’t quite as many people in worship as you had hoped. Or, maybe you are working feverishly to find contact information for all of your visitors so that you can make a further invitation to them. Whatever your Easter Monday and the week ahead hold, never forget the wonder of the empty tomb. When all looked as if it were lost, when it seemed like the only smart thing to do was either hide or go home, when the sun had not yet risen—that is when the great good news became evident. We must never lose hope. For we know the great good news of Easter and we are charged to bring hope in the name of Jesus Christ wherever we may be.
Susan D. Krummel (Sue)
Executive Presbyter
Presbytery of Chicago