This, year, as last, I'll make an empty tomb cake for my Sunday school class of 4- to 6-year-olds. I'll bake one small square cake for the base, and one small dome-shaped cake for the tomb. I'll frost both with sand-colored frosting, perhaps scatter raw sugar for a sandier appearance, and carve out a hollow in the dome's side. Candy-coated chocolate rocks will accent the ground. A large plain cookie will become the rolled-away boulder, guarded by a tiny wooden angel. Two wooden women will approach the empty tomb. We'll look quietly at the cake for a while; we'll tell the story, and we'll eat the cake.
Once I would have scoffed at the practice. For a brief time in my university years, I became enamored of a narrow approach to worship that privileged all things left-brained. Christianity is a religion of the Word, I insisted. Images, incense, Christmas pageants, even instruments were suspect. After all, Nadab and Abihu offered "strange fire" and were soundly extinguished by God, which somehow meant that we should also be suspicious of churches that encourage worship including drama, painting, or, heaven forbid, dance.
Christianity is a religion of the Word—the written Word, yes, but also the Word made Flesh, who dwelt among us, who turned water into wine, who made the blind see and the mute speak, who washed the stinky feet of fishermen and broke bread with unsavory characters. Christianity is a religion of that Word, too. The psalmist knew that words were not the only way of knowing or even worshiping God. His songs suggest that dancing, animals, birds, trees, oil and wine all speak in their various ways of God's infinite wisdom, beauty, and love. The trees praise God with their seasonal dressing and undressing, the mountain ...1
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