Saturday, April 11, 2009

Harrowing of Hell

Harrowing of Hell or Christ in Limbo (1510) - Albrecht Dürer

Imagine yourself in the dark. The gloom impenetrable, the helplessness complete, the despair infinite. If you chance upon others, you avoid eye contact, the fear and (self) loathing such that none wants to reach out, because all know that each is an aching sack of vulnerability, a wail waiting to happen (again and again and again).

How did this happen? you ask yourself. But you know the answer: a pleroma of decisions born of ignorance, pride, reluctance, meanness, cruelty, hard-heartedness, fear, want, and entitlement; every one of them justifiable; every one of them without justification – you just did each one for the hell of it.

A crack appears, a light so bright it hurts – a good hurt, like a foot asleep waking up or an abscess being lanced – and a cracking so loud it startles everyone and everything within earshot. It is like boulders being smote and splintered; like planets being knocked together like billiard balls; galaxies sent spinning and sailing as lightly as Frisbees on a sunny day in the park.

And another sound reaches your ear: singing. Singing as you haven’t heard in … O God! centuries? Suddenly, all those who like yourself would not, could not, lift their heads and shoulders due to the castdown-downness and cast-out-outness are joining as one, in all parts, all gladness and thanksgiving.

To greet the one and only One Who might enter this … this place … with the strong, well-rounded shoulder muscles and bright face and brighter eyes – striding, splintering all bonds, breaking loose all fears, all the menial and petty, all the huge and ugly sin that brought you and everybody else here in the first place.

You join your voice with theirs’! Can Heaven boast such a sound? Can the ninety nine sing like the one found and brought Home on the strong shoulders of the Good Shepherd? Is there anything so bright, so shining, as the one coin found by the woman who swept and searched? Is there anyone so dear as the son who once was dead, but now is alive?

All of you who look upon this Lord now lift your heads, hearts, shoulders, with straight backs. And you look fully at one another with eyes bright with tears, sorry, so sorry, yet so happy and full of love - now - for one another. What fools! O God! Thank God! O God! O Lord!

Our God is a sucker for redemption. If there is a way (there is a Way), He will make it possible for us to climb up and out and into His illimitable, irrepressible, indomitable loving Arms to safety and sunshine and Joy in the morning.

Through the Cross of Calvary he came all the way down ... here – for This. For us. For ... me. For all of us.

1 comment:

Athos said...

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