[1 Peter] The Harrowing of Hell

“Christ was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit,
in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison.” – 1 Peter 3:19

This intriguing verse may be a reference to the day Jesus “descended into hell” (as in the Apostles Creed) after his death but before the resurrection. It is sometimes called the “Harrowing of Hell.” It is a day etched in poetry, art and medieval theology. The images and icons show Jesus surrounded by agony and anguish and the full pain of the human condition. It is a rescue mission in the name of Love to the lost and broken to bring them home.

This is the work of the day between; this is the Saturday of the Passion. What was Jesus doing here in this underworld, this prison, this realm of lostness?  Why did Jesus descend into the depths of the human condition where there is nothing but raw pain and utter forsakenness?

This is a story that lives in us, reaching for us in the depths of our selves.
It is a story that touches all our losses,
It gathers our sadness
It pierces the place where our fear gathers
And it descends to the place where dreams fail, the harrowing of all that is hell,
the hallowing of even Hell by the Presence of Love. 

This is the story that reconnects us in the depths of ourselves.
You, me, and our dear suffering world, 
are tethered in Love,
a Love that seeks us out,
a Love that will not let our spirit go,
a Love that makes us whole and brings us home.

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