“Our meeting place with God and our beholding His glory, lies not in our going up to Him, but in His coming down to us in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord. ‘God who commended the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ,’ the divine radiance for our souls.'” The Sevenfold Secret
Lilias, in her loving treatise, The Sevenfold Secret, written especially for the Sufi Mystics, presented the dilemma of God reaching people with the radiance of His Glory. Drawing upon the blinding radiance of the sun, she poses the question: “How does the light and warmth of the sun reach us in the world?” It is obvious that even if we could make the long journey necessary to reach the sun, we would be blinded and scorched by its power.
She answers her question: The sun must come to us, that is clear, for we cannot go to it. It sends forth its rays, we know not how. They are of one nature with the sun and come down to earth, and bring the sun as it were to our doors, but with its light and warmth softened till we can bear the radiance and rejoice in it.
So it with God. If He were to manifest Himself in the fulness of Glory, His radiance would be more than we could withstand. Like the rays that are of one nature with the sun, Christ came to earth to reveal God in a way that we can bear to behold. Christ is “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” This is the glorious revelation of God to man.
Michael Davies captures this concept in his story “Incarnation.”
Once upon a time there lived a king who had power over all nations and peoples. His courts were of richest splendor; his tables were heavy with finest food. Music and laughter and gaiety floated from inside the castle and it was always light. Clouds wrapped it in ethereal majesty. Travelers always stopped and looked at the castle for a long while, wishing they might know the kings who had built the marvelous structure. But none were able to reach it.
In the cold of winter, the king’s tailor entered the royal chambers with his latest sketches for the king’s wardrobe. The little man was proud of his accomplishments. He had selected the finest materials and woven them into the most beautiful garments that eyes had ever seen. They glittered like gold.
But the king was not pleased. He ordered his tailor out, vowing to make his own clothes. No one but the king knew what he wanted. The door to the throne room was shut and locked. Weeks passed, and from inside came the clacking of the loom. The royal court waited with anticipation to see what the king would make for himself. They knew they were bound to be blinded by the glory of it. Finally the awaited day arrived. The doors opened and the king appeared.
Everyone, especially the tailor, gasped in surprise and horror. His Majesty was dressed in the simplest, cheapest, most unkingly garments imaginable. He had the choice of the world’s finest materials., but he had chosen to wear the clothes of a beggar.
“I am going into the valley, He said quietly.”
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
Painting: Diary 1901