1st Sunday of Lent

James DouglasReflections

I’m taking a break from the Lenten discipline today to lead worship – we’re looking at three passages of Scripture: Genesis 9:8-17, 1 Peter 3:18-22, and Mark 1:9-15

While I don’t usually give titles to my reflections (sermons), if I did give it a title it would be water, hell and baptism, for the important and linked images in the three readings. Speaking of images, the one below is striking and connects with the reading from 1 Peter 3:18-22.

The picture below is an Eastern Orthodox icon which depicts what is commonly called the descensus, or “Harrowing of Hades,” a non-canonical story popular in Middle Ages Roman Catholicism and still a part of the Orthodox tradition: Jesus, between his death and resurrection, stands atop the broken gates of Hades, the “Doors of Death,” which have come off their hinges and fallen into the shape of a cross; he is waking Adam and Eve (symbolizing all of us) from their sleep and pulling them away from the control of death. He pulls them by their wrists rather than hands to symbolize that their own strength plays no part in this act of grace. Broken locks lay scattered at their feet.

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philfoxrose/2013/03/easter-waking-up-and-the-harrowing-of-hades/#ixzz3SNKUemp2

The Harrowing of Hades - traditional icon

The Harrowing of Hades – traditional icon