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… but it’s years later now that I’m stunned by Ann’s prose in her Journal the other day, where Ann 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 this week, I’ve been reading 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? It’s this in-between day, the day in the middle… a day of waiting, uncertainty and confusion that I hadn’t thought much about until this week. A day in the abyss, a dark abyss of sorrow and pain. And hell. If Hope has died, then what is there left to hope for? The very word, the very thought, out of mercy, ought then to be struck from the minds of men, in such a case… or else 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. But they didn’t know the ending during the waiting.

Resurrection Sunday is the day the trumpets sound and the rock is moved and the tomb is empty– and 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!

And 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.

My list of thankfulness #136-153:

136. I’m thankful for hope, which I would not have if Jesus had not died on that cross and then rose again. “Hope does not disappoint…” Jesus = Hope.

137. The orchestra that played on Sunday, with trumpets, violins, cellos, clarinets, drums, flutes…brass, all of it… for the music they played in glorious praise and worship to the risen Savior. For the lifting of voices in unison with words of joy, thanks, gratitude. Words are often inadequate, but music comes a bit closer to expressing the joy and wonder and incredulity of the gift.

138. For a wonderful Friday night celebrating our first Messianic Seder with another family…for memories, for all that we learned, for thanking God for his gift, for breaking bread and drinking fruit of the vine together, for remembering, for laughter, for prayer, and for the feast we enjoyed.

139. Watching “Fiddler on the Roof” with family and friends ~ it had been a few years since I’d seen it, and I’d forgotten a good bit ~ was so much fun to watch it again and see things I hadn’t seen before, full of laughs, and great music. Made me stop and think about things… I wanted to discuss the pros and cons of “Tradition! Tradition!” like they sang… had it not been midnight when we finished the movie we could have had a good discussion, but it was already past bedtime…. so that conversation will have to wait for some other time. But since then I’ve had the song “Mazeltov, Mazeltov” running in my mind  for some reason … (wasn’t that from the sorta creepy- but funny- graveyard scene?)

 140. a Saturday spent doing Saturday-type stuff

 141. Easter lunch with friends and enjoying a long, leisurely afternoon that spilled into evening… felt so good to do that– sit, relax, eat, play games, drink coffee, eat cake, talk… and end with prayer at 8:30 pm and then go home.

142. That no stone is too big for God to roll away… no situation is too big for Him… no heart too far removed for Him to enter, no life impossible to change. No loved one is too far from God’s arms, ears, or heart. He loves, even more than we. There is always hope. There is always hope! Jesus Alive = Hope!

143. soft, flickering candlelight casting quivering shadows on the wall

144. smiles and hugs of friendly faces

145. for the freedom to worship wherever and whenever… for the freedom to worship! Magnificent.

146. reading some poetry this week

147. watching a friend’s little girls dress up in princess crowns and costumes ~ adorableness!

148. having some of the kids’ friends over

149. tricking surprising all with the “New Life” dessert! so much fun! can’t wait to try that one again! plotting…  (I found this special dessert on one of Ann’s pages, click here for that page, scroll down to see her Seder menu, then click on “New Life Dessert” for recipe.) Great!! The only thing I didn’t have were the “chocolate rocks”, but those would be a very nice touch.

150. handmade quilts and blankets for wrapping up in

151. Daffodils in my yard blooming on Easter Sunday… like little trumpeters heralding the news that “He is Alive!”  and that they seemed to know that this is the perfect day to bloom and revel in the news, so that is exactly what happened. Yellow just seems like the perfect color for these earliest flowers of spring. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for daffodils in the grocery store, and now here they are in bloom on Easter! Just lovely, and just like something God would do… a gift of daffodils in my suburban yard, resurrected from winter on the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

152. hearing about the vegetables my mom is planting in her garden… the hope and excitement it brings…hoping I am visiting when the harvest is ripe so I can taste some of the homegrown goodies. Nothing beats a homegrown juicy, red tomato… simply the best.

153. learning the obscure fact that “Uz and Buz” are names of Abraham’s nephews from a Bible trivia game. I know I’ve read that before but it never stopped me in my reading… yet it was hilairously funny to hear these names paired together in the context of a game question (reference Gen. 22:21). {Don’t they sound like good Veggie Tales character names? :)}

154. My 7 year old son wanted to feed the birds outside, so he was given some birdseed, which he decided to toss on the back patio. The next day a squirrel found the food, as well as some doves, robins and other birds. We had fun watching the squirrel busily and quickly grabbing the seeds and burying them in various locations. The plan now is to find a bird feeder that we can hang….

155. The wondering if there are any bird nests around the yard and the searching for evidence and finding none yet… because still the bushes are bare and sparse, so there is to be no hiding among foliage that hasn’t burst forth yet. The greenery seems to sprout overnight, so I know it won’t be long.

Continuing on in the gratitude list with others, at Ann’s: