Lenten devotionals: Holy week Saturday

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Continuing praying the creed

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.

Yesterday, the day known as Good, or better perhaps, God Friday (and we should remember that this is a man made name and does not appear in scripture), was a day to focus on the factual events. We dared to kneel before the cross and picture our Lord, nailed there. We grieved with his loved ones at the pain and agony his physical body must have endured. We bowed in gratitude for the redemption He offered us. We returned again to receive the grace extended and renewed our desire for Him. We left in contemplative silence.

Today, perhaps, like myself you have been busy with preparation. Special family time to organise, meals to prepare and service to community, family and friends.

I like to think of this day as a day of preparation and reparation for the body and soul of Christ. In our human weakness it is difficult to grasp the aspect of death. When I recite these words within the creed, “He descended into Hell” what, actually am I affirming?

Having read several interpretations to what these particular words within the apostles creed might refer, I am stating here that they can be open to interpretation for each to study and decide for themselves. These,

for what they are worth, are my thoughts.

Jesus himself, in describing his death, likened it to Jonah in the body of the fish. During that time, Jonah was separated from God, receiving the judgement of God for his lack of faith. Jesus, as the sacrificial lamb atoning for our sin, needed to experience the horror of separation from God. The body was dead and buried, we believe that. Using these few words we affirm I believe the spirit, the word, of Christ also experienced a death by separation from God.

My understanding, also, is that the resurrected body of Christ, was changed. He told Mary not to hold him as He had not yet returned to his father, yet his body was recognisable to Thomas by the scars and wounds of the crucifixion. The spirit and body were separated for a time, the body remaining in the tomb, the spirit in another dimension, preparing for the victory over death. At such a time for us, our physical body will perish, but in the day of victory over death, we will be given a new body, eternal, spiritual and glorious. By speaking to each other these words, let us use a tone of rejoicing as well as affirmation. Jesus did die, he endured separation from God, he forfeited yet again, for a time, His rightful position with God, and we in grace, know that we too will triumph over death and take our prepared place with Christ, beside our father God.

Tomorrow is….

We await the glorious day!

For further reading follow the below links

https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/apostles_creed.cfm

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/did-christ-ever-descend-to-hell

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p122a5p1.htm

God bless you this Easter celebration.

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