Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Jesus is standing on the broken doors of hell..."

"Jesus is standing on the broken doors of hell. The massive portals lie crossed under his feet, a reminder of the cross that won this triumph. He stands braced and striding, like a superhero, using his mighty outstretched arms to lift a great weight. That weight is Adam and Eve themselves, our father and mother in the fallen flesh. Jesus grasps Adam's wrist with his right hand and Eve's with his left as he pulls them forcibly up, out of the carved marble boxes that are their graves. Eve is shocked and appears almost to recoil in shame, long gray hair streaming. Adam gazes at Christ with a look of stunned awe, face lined with weary age, his long tangled beard awry. Their limp hands lie in Jesus's powerful grip as he hauls them up into the light.
"Behind Christ stand King David, King Solomon, the prophet Isaiah, and the prophet Jeremiah, all in gorgeous robes, clustered tightly like a standing-room-only crowd to see this marvelous event. Among them is an air of joy, even conviviality. John the Baptist is in the throng, still clothed in camel skin, now in full repossession of his head. Behind them are ranks and ranks of the righteous dead, who are dead no more, for Christ has set them free.
"Beneath Christ's feet is a black receding pit with floating silver shards of metal, chains, locks, and ominous instruments of pain. These instruments are broken and shattered, and the locks are unhinged, except for one set, still intact and in use. These locks bind the body of that vicious old Satan, who grimaces in his captivity, bound hand and foot and cast into his own darkness."
When you consider images of the resurrection, what do you imagine?

From Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross: Contemporary Images of the Atonement, Frederica Mathewes-Green contributor.

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