Saturday, March 26, 2005

he descended into hell

The Apostles' Creed affirms that Jesus was "crucified, died and was buried" and then "he descended into hell". On this day, between Good Friday (his death) and Easter (his resurrection) we take a moment to imagine his descent into death and hell, and thus the depths of his love for us. The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar writes, about the descent into hell, that "Christ disturbs the absolute loneliness striven for by the sinner: the sinner who wants to be damned, apart from God, finds God again in his loneliness, but God, in the absolute weakness of his love...enters into solidarity with those damning themselves".

We resist God. But God comes to us, descends to us, even in the very darkest places in our lives. The last words of Romans 8 (The Message) are helpful:

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing---
nothing living or dead,
angelic or demonic,
today or tomorrow,
high or low,
thinkable or unthinkable,
---absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love
because of the way that Jesus the Master has embraced us.


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