Thursday, April 1, 2010

Greater Love: An Easter Miracle on Main Street

By MaryBeth Seal

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

“Mary, can you help us move this weekend?” asked my friend Yola.
With some trepidation I replied, “Of course we can help you move.” Yola was my new friend from work.
I hesitated because it was going to be on Easter weekend and I had a lot of grocery shopping, baking, and meal preparation to do for my family. I was sure it would be a huge inconvenience. “Somehow I’ll manage to do it all,” I told myself. Doing it all myself was a lifelong trap, and I still fall into it more than I like to admit.
This particular holiday, I planned to make an atypical Easter dinner-not the traditional ham, potato salad, and yams we were used to. I discovered a recipe for a unique way to serve sliced ham and turkey, layered with Swiss cheese and spinach. These ingredients would then be baked in the middle of rolled pastry dough. These sliced pinwheels made for a great presentation on a decorative serving platter. I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen and begin my food art work!
There was one traditional food that I was not going to forgo, and that was the lamb cake. My mother always made lamb cakes as I was growing up, and now I always make one for my own family. It is basically pound cake batter baked in a lamb form pan. After it’s cooled, it would be iced with vanilla frosting and finally smothered with snow white flaked coconut. I would use black jelly beans for the nose and eyes. Carefully placing a red ribbon around its neck, the lamb would be positioned on a bed of Easter grass and become the center piece for our table.
As a child, I thought lamb cakes were cute. As an adult, I understand that Jesus is the Lamb of God; that he was slain for the forgiveness of sin for all mankind, and for me personally. He was the incarnate sacrificial Passover Lamb. The beautiful lamb cake that would be our centerpiece would be broken, slashed and served after our meal.
Soon, the holiday weekend roared in and I charged out the door to go help my friends move. After all, we had the truck, and my husband and our teen son had the muscles. I did my share of carrying boxes down the flight of stairs to the truck and up three flights of stairs to their new apartment.
Later that afternoon upon returning home, my “charge” had expired. I felt like I was wearing a bell diver’s suit. I trudged into my kitchen to begin the preparation for my Easter dinner. My food art work was looking more like hard work. Before starting my list, I had to unload two bags of food that Yola had sent home with me from her place. They were going out of the country for a month, and didn’t want it to be wasted.
As I packed her things into my refrigerator, it was as though I was putting a puzzle together. Yola had no way of knowing of my dinner plans, so this dinner puzzle was quite surprising. I took out a package of sliced ham, then one of sliced turkey, and in the mix, a package of Swiss cheese! To my absolute astonishment, I pulled out a box of freezer pastry dough, just exactly what I needed to make the dinner from the magazine recipe.
Just then there was a knock on our door. My future daughter-in-law stood in the doorway holding a dish on which sat a beautiful lamb cake!
I knew God was blessing us for helping our friends that day. He laid down his life for his friends; and asks us to do the same for others. When we sat down to dinner on that extraordinary Easter Sunday, we enjoyed an amazing “grace,” the grace of a miracle. Our hearts were filled with gratitude.

MaryBeth Seal is a nurse and a She Speaks graduate. Speaking to women’s groups and Bible studies has been part of her ministry as well. “A Life to Overcome” is one her favorite presentations. MaryBeth recently had her first book published “Valley Girl….the Valley of Trouble Leads to a Door of Hope,” and it is available at MaryBeth can be contacted at