Daily Reading for March 22 • Holy Saturday
Clearly for these Greek-speaking Christians [Clement of Alexandria and Athanasius] our human reconciliation with God was effected by the entire dynamic of the Christ-coming. The salvific emphasis was placed upon the incarnation as much as upon the crucifixion. And the sense of redemption was universal and creation-centered rather than individual and focused solely upon humankind. This is a precious insight to take forward with us into the twenty-first century as we grow increasingly aware of the symbiotic and endangered relationship between our own species and all the species in the ecosystems of the earth. God is not simply above the earth, raising us up from our God-lessness by bypassing the created order. Rather, God in Christ breaks the chains that enslave us and our earth-home, and radically frees creation to realize its own intrinsic God-likeness. . . .
This descent to the dead, while not deeply explored in any other quarter of Christendom than Eastern Orthodoxy, is wonderfully rich in its implications. The descent to the dead as it is elucidated in that tradition speaks symbolically to the length and breadth of divine compassion, to the extent of the redemptive promise and to the utter intimacy of a God whose love penetrates to the furthest reaches of creation’s fallen depths. There is no place God is not.
From The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost by Wendy M. Wright (Upper Room Books, 1994).