David Trinko: Sweetness of an empty tomb

Mar. 30—COLUMBUS GROVE — How do you explain to kids that finding nothing meant everything?

You make a sweet treat.

One of the most complicated things to explain to children is how an empty tomb on Easter morning brought to fruition everything Jesus said he would do during his time on earth. After all, it's just an empty space, right?

Kindergarten through eighth-grade pupils at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School spent part of their Holy Thursday with a hands-on activity to help them grasp this theological mystery. They made "Resurrection Rolls," with marshmallows placed in the middle of dough and baked, with the marshmallow melting into the dough, leaving an empty spot where it once was.

"Touching on the hands-on aspect, I think it allows them to be more engaged in their learning and be able to actually see, especially for the younger kids, a representation of the empty tomb," said Hannah Niese, a fourth-grade teacher at St. Anthony. "Jesus's tomb was empty, and the roll is empty. Just seeing the connection play out in front of them furthers their learning."

Every part of the activity was packed with symbolism.

The marshmallow represented the body of Jesus, wrapped in the customary burial cloth.

The roll of dough symbolized the tomb where Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea.

Students dipped their rolls in cinnamon, representing the spices with which the women anointed the body of Jesus while mourning his death.

The sugar used in baking showed the sweetness and hope found in the resurrection.

If it all seems a bit vague, it wasn't to the third- and fourth-graders participating in the activity just before lunch. Eli Kohls appeared to be a budding theologian as he answered the teacher's questions about what was left behind.

"It's going to have melted marshmallow. Nothing is going to be there anymore, just like how our Lord Jesus rose from his tomb," Kohls said.

But like those marshmallows wrapped in dough, he left nothing but sweetness behind.

It can be difficult to understand how a death 2,000 years ago can still have an impact on our lives today. So many people have adopted an attitude of atheism, thinking we've somehow advanced beyond the need for God, when God is who brought us along to this very point and everywhere we go from here.

Jesus died the worst death possible for my sins. He rose from the dead. His followers started a new way of life, caring for one another in a way they hadn't before that continues to today.

Like the marshmallow in the dough, He's still here among us. We just have to be willing to look for Him and acknowledge the goodness He brought.

If it takes making a doughy confection treat to understand it, all the better.


See past columns by David Trinko at

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.