Suffering pierces the soul, opening a blessed wound of love revealing God at centre,’I AM,’ present in glory crying, ‘Glory to God, glorious in angels and saints!’ Desert wisdom remembers its oldest Name for God, ‘YHWH SABAOTH‘, Lord of Hosts, the ‘EHYEH‘ of the glorified ‘ELOHIM,’ the ‘I AM’ of angels in glory, the Name (SHEM) of the deified angelic hosts, saints and Holy Ones. Such suffering, giving rise to glorification, opens the heart to the glory of ‘I AM,’ the deifying Name. Such suffering pierces the heart in the midst, opening its blessed wound to God-centred glorification of God. Suffering unites wisdom in the Spirit with glory in Christ when his glorification of God in Gethsemane was consummated in God on Golgotha. There is a co-suffering of saints that is their co-glorification with Christ in the Spirit and it opens to the mysteries of glory at the heart of the Name. Desert wisdom has always known the Name ‘I AM’ is revelation of God, an awakening of illumining awareness to God’s glorifying presence, a revelation that unites his saving wisdom with his deifying glory. The angel of ‘I AM’ is Christ himself and the Name ‘I AM’ consecrates its bearer as an angel of glory, blessing him because he comes in the Name of ‘I AM.’ To be an angel of God’s awareness is to be blessed as an angel of God’s presence, his glory, wisdom indwelling him in glory, giving rise to glorification. This is very ancient desert tradition, preserved in desert Hesychasm by living prophecy and unceasing prayer of the Spirit in the heart. God speaks in the Name of God when prophecy is at work in elders and prayer of the heart in saints. Elders function as angels when seers speaks in God’s Name and saints are angels of presence when they awaken to God-centred glorification of God.
The angel of ‘I AM,’ unveiled in the Burning Bush, blesses all who turn and see God in his Name, consuming confusion and division but sustaining deified human being, enthroned with angels in glory. Desert seers find wisdom indwelling the wilderness before them, waiting to be unveiled, loved and known. Dwelling with wisdom, they dwelt with angels, worshipped with angels, felt the presence of angels, shared visions of angels and described their monastic way of life as an angelic estate. Angels mediate in their resurrection and ascension in the wilderness, just as they were present at Christ’s own resurrection and ascension in glory. Angels attend solitaries in the desert just as they attended Christ in the wilderness. Angels were present in the garden of Gethsemane and are present in every time of trial in the desert. Gabriel announced the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus and angels watch over the rebirth of saints in the desert. An angel assured Joseph that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and told the shepherds that Christ was born in Bethlehem. In the desert, some angels were seen to be guardian angels of the nations, gathering all peoples in the heavens with Christ in their midst. Such angels welcomed Christ’s resurrection as the enthronement of the King of Glory. Such angels glorify Chrsit in his ascent through seven heavens which the desert sees as the disempowerment of Satan’s seven hells. The enthronement of Christ above the angels was a crucial insight for the desert, because it acknowledged that it is Christ who reigns in God’s Kingdom, exposing all contesting powers in the uncreated light of wisdom and glory.
Desert asceticism is sustained by wisdom’s vision, shared by angels together with saints and supported by their loving ministrations and healing presence. ‘YHWH SABAOTH’ remains Lord of angels and saints in the desert, even in an age that scoffs at both. The contemporary creative imagination explores angels as elves, and saints as heroes in literature which seeks to regenerate perception. But desert wisdom never totally forgot that glorification was restoration of glory to the ‘ELOHIM,’ the angel hosts, that ‘YHWH SABAOTH’ was Lord of the glorified in heaven and on earth. But his glory always surpasses angels, so saints impart to angels a glory that principalities and powers in heavenly places need to know (Eph 3:10). Desert wisdom follows Christ’s resurrection into ascension, but does not stop there, since Christ glorified draws forth his saints from glory into increasing and expanding glory without end. The Bride follows the Bridegroom through the Holy of Holies, which unites heaven and earth, to the holiest of Holies which is the Bridal Chamber, where the union of wisdom and glory unveil the Name without end. Long before this, the desert is plunged into the silence of the ineffable, living mysteries that cannot be explained, grasped or thought. This is why prophecy becomes enigmatic poetry and prayer profound stillness, yet every gesture speaks of wisdom and every smile of glory. Angels are at home here beyond speech, at home here in awareness, at home here in presence, at peace with the Name unveiling wisdom and glory. The oldest Name of God, ‘YHWH SABAOTH,’ sustains glorification in the desert without qualification, as true today as it was in the beginning. The ‘ELOHIM’ ascribe glory to God in his Name, ‘EHYEH,’ because ‘YAH’ saves,’Yah Shuah,’ Jesus is ‘I AM.’ ‘EHYEH’ in the ‘ELOHIM’ is one ‘EHYEH.’ ‘I AM’ in the deified is one ‘I AM.’