Thursday, January 19, 2012

Unhelling Hell

"This is the tragedy of our human condition, that we fall so far we can no longer see or hear the true God, and we imagine the condemning God is the only God. And then, the God we imagine becomes the God we get" (Luther)

But this is not the true and only God, Luther continued. In Jesus Christ, the true God breaks into even the most utter despair. In the one who cries out, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" God joins those whom darkness has swallowed. In so doing, Christ unhelled hell, Luther preached, declaring that Christ's descent to hell means there is no place that any one of us could ever end up, no depth to which we might ever sink, but that even there he is Lord with us. Even there he says, "Come with me."

-excerpted from Frederick Niedner's essay "Barely Enough: Manna in the Wilderness of Depression," The Christian Century, January 25, 2012.

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