Think of Jesus as a marshmallow.
Associate Pastor Amber Waugaman made the analogy holding up the sweet confection before about dozen young children seated around her. The marshmallow — pure and unblemished, much like the central figure of Christianity, she explained.
When Jesus died, his body was anointed with oils and spices, she continued, rolling the marshmallow in butter, cinnamon and sugar on a small table she stood over at the front of the sanctuary at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Clifton Park. Then the body was interred, she explained, rolling the candied marshmallow into an envelop of dough.
When baked, the marshmallow disappears, she said, sort of like the body of Christ after the resurrection. Then to show her point, she split open one of the finished cookies.
“See? The marshmallow is gone,” she said, allowing the children to see into the hollow center of the cookie. “Jesus is alive. And that’s one way to remember Jesus has risen from the dead.”
The illustration seemed to resonate with the children, who watched with quiet concentration. Or perhaps it was the bowl of finished cookies Waugaman later distributed to them that kept them at attention.
Either way, the marshmallow Jesus was a clever ploy to keep Prince of Peace’s youngest parishioners on the same page with others celebrating Easter Sunday. Pastor Jeff Silvernail reminded churchgoers of the message of rebirth that is quite literally surrounding them amid the dawning days of spring.
Outside the church, the first shoots of flowers were poking through the ground. And all around were the sounds of birds chirping — a sign the worst of winter has passed.
“All of these things you saw on your way to church,” he said.
But for Christians worldwide, the most important rebirth on Sunday is that of Jesus. And it’s a message that is as uplifting for believers as the blossoming of spring outside.
“This is a season of celebration,” he said. “This is a season of joy.”
Silvernail also asked parishioners why they search for the living among the dead. He talked about the best way to ride a dead horse, a proverb to illustrate how institutions have a tendency to hold on to old forms long after their effectiveness has ceased.
Still, he said, the best method is the one advanced by the Lakota Indians. In short, they say the best way to ride a dead horse is to get off of it and find a new one — and that’s a message affirmed by the resurrection, Silvernail said.
“It’s time to find a new horse because Jesus is alive and that changes everything for us,” he said.