The Moving of Stones

I step out of the water, my long hair dripping wet.

I was 13 and it was Easter Sunday night in a medium-sized church in the deep south when I was baptized… but it’s years later when I read Ann Voskamp’s prose in her Journal, where she writes about her daughter’s baptism day and how that is the day she’s chosen to die. The words jar me– though I understand their meaning. We usually talk of baptism as a new beginning, a new creation, a new life… but it is also our death– the death of self, the death of the bondage to sin, the death of eternal death….

I am thankful for that little church, where I “made the walk down the aisle” during a revival service, and for that day of my death. I will always remember that place, where Word was spoken and my heart was ready to receive.

In other blogs, I’ve read of the “Saturday”, the time in-between the death and resurrection. How did the disciples feel? How did they sorrow on that day? What did they think? Were they confused, wondering what all of it was about and what would they do next? How was their faith? resolute? tentative? shaken? steadfast? It’s this in-between day, the day in the middle, this day of waiting, uncertainty, and confusion, a day spent in the abyss of sorrow and pain — and hell– that I hadn’t thought much about until I began blogging a few years ago and reading others’ thoughts on the subject.

If Hope has died, then what is there left to hope for? The very word “hope”, the very thought of it, out of mercy, ought then to be struck from the minds of men, in such a case… or else how would humankind survive such misery?

We have the advantage of knowing the ending to this story. We wait with hopeful eyes and sing with triumphant voices. During the waiting, however, the disciples didn’t fully grasp the ending.

Resurrection Sunday is the day the trumpets sound and the rock is moved and the tomb is empty. We celebrate this gift with a joy that wells from the deep, just as we did this year on Easter and have been remembering ever since Jesus took that place for us.

I remember that day, many years ago, when the tomb of my heart was opened and the stone rolled away, and Jesus came in that place. A day that was a beginning and an ending all at once — a life and a death. And that which I do every day, still, is this dying and living.

He is alive!

Today, stones are still being moved, stones of hard-heartedness, hatred, idolatry, pride,  and anything that would separate us from the love of God. This cornerstone is also a mover of stones. What stones need moving in your life?

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(edited from the archives)
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