Merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice! I hope the holy-day is treating you well. It sure is treating me well–I just finished the most sumptuous meal: a salad with artichoke hearts, feta cheese, green and black olives, a pasta dish of fresh homemade cavadelli and manacotti, not to mention meatballs…a glass of Australian imported wine…mmm!
They say its more blessed to give than receive, and I believe that (I gave my dad a car CD/MP3 player, my mom a sweater, and Jasmin an hour long massage from an old high school friend of mine who does that now…and I got stacks of books for many other beloved ones on my “list”), but wow, I got some neat stuff.
My parents bought me a stack of books I wanted, not to mention socks and a batch of my favorite cookies, peanut blossoms; my aunts and uncles and grandparents, et al, gave me some mad cash. Viva la capitalism! My wonderful chiropractic bosses, Drs. Phil and Bridget, gave me the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD. Jasmin gave me some myyrh and jasmine essence oil, and a copy of Waking Life. She also managed to find this tree of life pendant that’s just like one I lost:
Well, not just like, since the one I lost had some ‘glory dust’ on it. “What is ‘glory dust’,” you’re asking? Well, apparently it is an emanation of the glory of God–some kind of metal or film-ish material–that appeared in a lot of gatherings of the saints in 1999 and 2000. It just manifested, from people’s scalps, as oil from their foreheads and hands, or sometimes, you could see it raining from mid-air or appearing on the ground. Some people even recived fillings in their mouths of the substance. This happened in house churches, Baptist, Pentecostal and charismatic churches. I was at several meetings when it occured, and I even got to save some in a bible, from a Brazilian woman named Silvania, and it was this shimmering green color. I glued it to my Tree of Life pendant. (I kid you not about any of this, it was a real phenomenon that I’m still not sure what it all meant; see this for an interesting take)
I wore my glory-soaked pendant for several years, after this hippie chick named Julie made me a hemp necklace for it to go on. And I know this sounds silly, but I kind of thought that it might change my life. You know, if you’re holding a genuine emanation from the Other Realm–a rock-hard piece of Eternity–around your neck, that somehow, you might be more spiritual, more holy, more other. I thought it might make me as one with God.
But you know what? I was still capable of the same trivial, pedantic, blundering, and hurtful behavior with the pendant that I was without it. And I think I lost the thing–just the Tree–when I was in New York City Spring 2003, hanging out with my Christian anarchist friends.
And now, I have a new one. I put it on the same hemp from Julie, but now its minus the glory. Now what do you suppose that this means, in a meta-sense?
From one vantage point, it could be quite the mournful thing. I haven’t seen a “glory dust” manifestation in years…or any kind of sign or wonder for that matter. I can’t even think of an answered prayer off the top of my head (oh yeah, wait…that I wouldn’t die a few months ago. Sorry Lord). I don’t even pray much anymore, in a “petitionary” sort of way, so its hard to say. It could mean that I’ve lost ‘the glory,’ the unique sense of God’s blessing and harmony in my life. Like Samson getting his hair cut by that Persian temptress, and then having his eyes gouged out. A shadow of his former self.
This all may be true. One of my “prophetic” friends has said for years that I was in danger of ‘losing my consecration,’ or my ‘mantle,’ whatever that might mean. Certainly I’ve made some choices–established some patterns of being–that I’m not proud of. So I’m not too hasty in dismissing this idea.
But there’s another possibility here, too: The outer ‘glory’ might be gone, but I still have the better part…the Tree of Life! Cheribum with flaming swords guarded that thing on pain of death from time immemorial, ever since humanity’s much-hyped ‘fall.’ But then, the Beautiful Child Whose Life some of us celebrate today, He injected Himself into the timestream to wrest that sabre from angelic hands, to invite us back into that primordial Garden, to come and eat…
And so, by virtue of the amazing life of my risen Brother, I can partake freely of this Tree’s Fruit. Like this Man Himself, bearing the Tree of Life may not look like what we would think. It’ll not be some dog-and-pony show…not from the One Who it is said, “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself…” (Philippians 2)
Jesus had the glory, and He laid it aside. He lays it aside every waking moment, and I believe that in so doing, He discovers an even deeper, more subtle, energy of glory that He shares with His spiritual sisters and brothers.
Stripped naked, all we need is the naked Tree of Life. I think this is what we’re being invited back into.
Season’s Greetings, beloveds.