Everywhere we go, we leave behind traces of our having been there:
Whenever an injustice is committed, such as a murder, the DNA of both victim and perpetrator leave their trace as a wound in the fabric of the place.
Likewise, a memorial – such as the initials of lovers carved into a tree, or those of a choir boy scratched into his stall – leaves a lasting scar, in place of a fleeting moment that has been passed through.
Memories live on, in the minds of those who remain and those who return, and, some say, held in the place, in safekeeping, in case they should be required in some future time not yet come to. Indeed, memories find the deepest recesses in which to lodge, from which to return at unbidden moments. It is a quarter of a century since I left my parents’ home…
Today is Holy Saturday. Today we must attend to the news that Jesus spent time in hell, preaching – what? Why, the same message he had been anointed to bear from the beginning: ‘to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
And this means that even though we will proclaim that Christ has risen, there are traces of Christ in hell, traces that cannot be obliterated however hard it might be tried. Fingerprints in blood stains. His name carved in a long-ago now broken gate. The haunting memory that cannot be dislodged, that whispers even here we are not ever fully beyond the bounds of God’s boundless love…