Wisdom in the desert is timeless flame, since every day is equivalent to any day in the Name, which begins where it ends and ends where it begins. The step back of true turning awakens the heart to the consuming fire of uncreated energy, which sees union of seer and seen in the Name. The uncreated river of fire is not the same for turning as for seeing, for light as for glory, yet the same fire purifies, illumines and glorifies as flowing, uncreated energy. The way up and the way down co-inhere when ascent into light meets descent of glory so that enquiring within, the created ‘me’ bears witness to uncreated ‘I AM,’ here at centre in the midst. The way up is the way down and back into the heart, for ascent is not complete until descent of love’s glory has included all that ascent excluded. ‘I AM’ is inexhaustible even if we explore it inside out or turn it outside in, and its depths remain unfathomable even when speech humbly submits to the ineffable. The wonder of humble wisdom is awakened by the Holy Name of God, opening to graced glory when deadly confusion dissolves into death’s illumining death of death.
The Beloved Disciple bears witness to the LOGOS in the Gospel of John, transmitting wisdom to the desert that sees unforeseen mystery everywhere. She leaps over binary impasse and cuts through mountainous separation, awakening elders to wisdom that right glorifies the hallowing Name. With her guidance, the wisdom of Solomon or Lao Tzu, Heraclitus or Gautama Buddha, is heard in the desert not as clever argument or wide learning but as Christ’s consuming fire that purifies, illumines and glorifies the saints. As LOGOS, Christ’s wisdom guides and fills all things, ascending by exclusion of the many from the One, and descending by inclusion of the many in the One. Following the LOGOS, elders do not indulge in empty talk but may sometimes speak in riddles so as to awaken hearts beyond the impasse of shallow conventions. Following the LOGOS, like sages of old, saints listen not only to an elder’s words but to the Word within his words that unveils uncreated glory in the midst. Narrow minds impose a living death that dulls wits with gibberish, reducing great vision to self-interested ideology. Blind eyes collude with deaf ears in a world that refuses to turn or see, failing to recognise what seeing sees. The believers think they know, but deny the value of unknowing, so fail to know the union of the knower and the known.
Wisdom poetry like the Odes of Solomon eternally returns prayer to the hallowing turn, so that prophecy can impart the renewing word. The wisdom of the Logos is fire renewing fire that consumes confusion and heals division with ever-living flames of love. Her presence in the desert is witness to the presence that wisdom sees, and her kindly awareness of our suffering is balm to our bleeding hearts. Her prophecy and prayer is regenerative fire, seeing Zarathustra’s flame in the heart of her Beloved, enlightening hearts from love’s glory received to love’s glory given. The Prologue to the Fourth Gospel sees the LOGOS in the Beloved at the heart of the LOGOS of Heraclitus, Sage of Ephesus, grounding wisdom’s embrace of wisdom in Athens as well as Jerusalem. Wisdom, Word and Name are one here as their uncreated fire penetrates our myrrh to die as fire or myrrh and rise as incense, fragrance of prophecy or prayer. She offers symbols that signify what cannot be said so that as mystery or sacrament the Name grounds holy being, well-being and ever-well-being without end. Wisdom is dazzling darkness in the desert, timeless uncreated fire, light and glory, renewing Orthodox Christian wisdom tradition in every generation.