Its 2 days in a row now and that's a good thing. I spent yesterday making the first part of what has become a 2 part piece on youtube.
Its about the Christology essay I did, which was on Holy Saturday. You know the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday? Yeah that day and what did Jesus do on that day?
He could have been playing cards for all most people know. In fact there is not that much written about it at all. Even in the bible there is less written about what Jesus did in the grave than anything else. Which makes any thinking about Holy Saturday a struggle.
What also makes for more problems is the Apostles Creed and the line - "He descended into Hell" - which brings a range of responses. Mostly I don't know or I'm not sure about that. For me it was a complete empty hole of a day and the whole concept of Jesus descending into Hell was something I had never thought of. Of course now I have thought about it, read about it, and have come to a point of understanding that is not heretical but its certainly not traditional.
The traditional understandings are mentioned in the video and are garnered from a couple of verses in the bible (most taken out of context) and the not so well known gospel of Nicodemus. This scant information being embellished into the fantastic and mythical is a main point of those who wont have it. Yet it is such a silent hole in the Easter story that its silence calls to many to work out what is happening. Honestly I hear it calling out to me and its really hard not to think about this everyday now.
The only real advancement beyond the dogma and confessional beliefs of the churches comes from Hans Urs von Balthasar. For Balthasar the silence of Holy Saturday calls out to him to such an extent that he makes it the center of his Christology. Solidarity is the big word for Balthasar, Christ's Solidarity with the living when he is alive and Christ's solidarity with the dead when he is dead. That's where I end the first part, Christ dead in Hell. Which is incredibly confronting and sad, it is hard to think of Jesus the Son of God dead for any moment of time. Yet the solidarity that Balthasar talks of seems true in the way he explains it. It is in the living out of humanity in its fullness and perfection that Jesus is in solidarity with us. This is also true in the death of Jesus as we die and wherever we go after death Jesus goes to the dead.
What arises out of this solidarity with the dead is much the same as his solidarity with the living. It is the same solidarity just in a different point in the Human Trajectory (Birth, Life, Death, Going to the Dead). There is nothing extra added to salvation by Christ going to the place of the dead it is a part of his whole redemption of humanity. No extra salvation is possible because on the Cross "It is finished".
Despite this others have taken Balthasar's solidarity of the dead Christ with the dead to be a salvation for those in the place of the dead with Christ. A salvation that takes up Hell into Heaven so all is redeemed, this is called Universalism and its got it wrong. The unfortunate thing about such a false hope is that they haven't seen the consistency of the exclusive/inclusive offer of salvation. Not all of those who live are saved by Christ's solidarity with the living only those who decide to admit, submit and follow Christ. It is not Christ's solidarity with those dead with him, it is Christ's solidarity with those who are DEAD IN CHRIST. There is time to make our decision while alive after live there is no second chance. The unfortunate result of this is that those we knew who have passed away without deciding for Jesus is that they are lost.
When you strip away the veil of myth and fantastic there is actually more to Holy Saturday than an action movie. We have God in the form of Jesus dead in the place of the dead, in our place. Redeeming us from the righteous punishment that we deserve. He is silent and passive just like the rest of the dead, yet his preaching is his witness that here in the depths of dispair God has come to put everything right again.