Blessing in the Name

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‘Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord: God is the Lord and hath revealed himself to us’ (Psalm 118: 26-27, Orthodox Liturgy at the elevation of the Chalice OUP p 92).  Here, revelation of God follows blessing in the Name, like summer harvests follow spring sowing of the seed.  God is the Lord, ‘I AM,’ revealing God to us, because God first blesses his Son, who comes in the Name of ‘I AM.’  A crucial, excruciating blessing reveals God here in the midst, bringing blessing and joy.  The Name is wisdom and glory revealing God here at centre.  Hallowing the Name blesses all who witness the glory of the Name, all who are turned around on the ineffable axis of ‘I AM,’ offering themselves and receiving God.  Self-emptying is the self-offering of spiritual martyrdom, which is witness to God here, wisdom’s vision of glory.  God blesses us with his Name, into which he empties himself, revealing his Kingdom, which empties us fall that obstructs the light of his glory, his awakening presence.  At the rising of the sun, the Matins Troparion reverses verses 26-27 to 27-26:  ‘God is ‘I AM’ and hath revealed himself to us: Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of ‘I AM”( Psalm 118: 27-26).  Here, blessing follows the revelation of the Name, like sunrise following dawn.  In Lent, a threefold HALLELU YAH is sung in the place of the Matins Troparion, showing that the threefold praise of the Name is the traditional Lenten alternative to Name blessing.  The Hebrew of Psalm 118: 27 reads: ‘The Lord (‘I AM’) is God, who has made his light shine upon us,’ showing us not only that ANI YHWH means ‘I AM’ HE WHO IS, but that ‘I AM,’ the Name, is uncreated light.  The LXX of Deut 45:19, EGO EIMI EGO EIMI, KYRIOS, translates the Divine Name twice, once as KYRIOS (or Lord) but also as ‘I AM.’   Wisdom sees glory with the awakened eye of the heart in dazzling, uncreated light, unveiling the presence of the Lord,’I AM.’

God the Holy Spirit speaks in a barely audible whisper in the heart, ‘I, even I, am I AM’ (Isaiah 43:11), ‘I am I AM, thy God,’ (Isaiah 43:3; Ezekiel 6:7).   Prophecy loves to repeat this word of revelatory theophany underlying both Covenants of the Name.  The Psalms respond: ‘Not unto us, O ‘I AM,’ not unto us but unto thy Name be the glory, for thy mercy and thy truth’s sake’ ( Psalm 115:1).  Prophecy insists: ‘I am ‘I AM,’ that is my Name! I will not give my glory to another’ (Isaiah 42:8). The Psamist replies: ‘Give unto ‘I AM’ the glory due unto his Name; worship ‘I AM’ in the beauty of holiness’ (Psalm 29:2).  Desert elders love to sing the glory of God’s Name in their hearts, making his praise truly glorious (Psalm 66:2).  They know that blessing in the Name knows ‘I AM’ is God, ‘I AM’ is one, which is to say God’s Name is ‘I AM’ and the oneness of ‘I AM’ belongs to God alone (Deut 6:4, the SHEMA that witnesses to the SHEM, the Name).  The Name faces both ways, from God to humanity and from humanity to God, which is why the Name both glorifies God and in his Name, God glorifies those who glorify his Name.  The Name is God at centre, where our union with God meets God’s communion with us, where the union of God the Father with God the Son is shared by the Spirit as God’s communion through God with us.  Here, ineffable union is inexplicable communion, kindled by the Spirit’s tongue of flame, transpiercing the heart with Christ’s Christophanic blessing, his Holy Chrism experienced as a searing two-edged sword, severing diseased confusion from sound union.  The Name blesses by curing counterfeit confusion, imparting holy communion, wisdom revealing mysteries of glory in the awakened heart.

Christ comes to awaken the heart from sleep, to raise it from death to life, his light unveiling light as life, which is the uncreated life of Christ himself, glory from God illumining us.  The blessing given by the Name is uncreated light, eternal life that puts death to death by overcoming death with death, resurrection life that communicates the glory of the Name.  In fact, Christ’s glory is this very life, springing directly from God at centre, nourishing all who partake of him, the tree of life. The Name gladdens the hearts of all who awaken to the glory of God’s unveiled Face.  Glory raises to glory all who turn and see.  Wisdom walks in the light of the glory of God’s Name, rejoicing in the beauty of his holiness.   Wisdom cleaves to glory as a bride to her bridegroom, revealing the Holy of Holies to be the hidden mystery of the Bridal Chamber.   Wisdom prays: HASHIVENI WASHUVAH, ‘Turn me and I shall be turned, for Thou, O God, art ‘I AM’ (Jeremiah 31:18).  Glory enjoins: SHUVU WeHASHIVU, Turn and be turned! (Ezekiel 14:6; 18:30; Acts 3:19).  Be turned by the Spirit’s witness to the Name, rending the heart.  The cloud that veils the Name lifts to unveil God’s glory in the midst.  Prophecy reminds us that  everyone who invokes the Name shall be saved by the Name (Joel 2:32: Romans 10:13; Acts 2:17-21).  Prayer prays in the Name of the saving Name, not in its own name, the Spirit infusing prayer of the Name in the heart.  Prophecy is regenerated by wisdom’s vision of glory in the Name, just as prayer of the Spirit in the heart regenerates prophecy.  There is an infallible, although ineffable circulation of glory issuing forth from God, returning through God to God.  The blessing of the Name is deification (theosis), unveiling glory both ways, divinely from God to us and humanly from us to God.  The recapitulation of both glories restores glory to glory, awakening ineffable, unfathomable joy on earth as in heaven.

The Name at centre in the desert is the axis of light that glorifies God, by which God glorifies the saints.  It is the glory of grace in the midst that deifies the saints, not self-obsessed struggles that strain and stress off-centre.  This uncreated glory at centre ascends as purifying fire into uncreated light, rising from light into deifying glory, revealing the resurrecting chariot-throne mysteries of awakening hearts.  It is Christ in the heart who ascends and is enthroned in the midst.  It is the Spirit who enthrones Christ in glory, restoring glory to the Father.  The Name blesses by unveiling the Spirit’s enthronement of Christ in the midst, turning hearts into chariot thrones which move as they are moved.  The throne of glory moves from translucent purity into transfiguring light, raising light into transfigured glory, an ineffable movement of the chariot throne.  Grace purifies, illumines and glorifies as glory moves and is moved.  Enthroning glory is all-seeing, all-encompassing light, beholding the unveiled Face of uncreated glory as it moves like a chariot throne from glory to glory.   Wisdom’s luminous eye beholds moving throne mysteries as revelations of glory in the midst.  Glory ascends and descends the ladder of the Name, like angels on Jacob’s Ladder, winged by the archangelic glory of the throne.  Christ rides the chariot throne of the heart on wings of the Spirit, raising the purified heart on wings of wisdom and glory.  The theophany of the throne sustains the theophany of the Name, revealing wedded christophanies of wisdom and glory in the awakened heart.  Blessed is the purity of heart that wisdom knows when Christ’s glory is enthroned here in the midst.