I am very pleased to present this post by WB Merrick Hamer. I had the pleasure of meeting him at my Scottish Rite Reunion last May, where he performed excellently in nearly each of the degrees exemplified by the Pasadena Valley. The very next month, I saw him perform in a St. John’s Day play at Culver City-Foshay Lodge No. 467, which presented a somewhat historical account of the hours leading up to the Premier Grand Lodge in 1717. He is a very accomplished and knowledgeable brother, likely one of the most humble men I have met, and quick to help those who need it. Last month, he was featured on the podcast VH Frater BT’s Esoterinerd, reciting his own poetry and discussing the Golden Dawn and Freemasonry. Around that time, he was performing in the November Reunion at the Pasadena Scottish Rite, and I was lucky enough to perform with him in the 18th and 28th degrees. Thank you, Bro. Merrick for allowing me to re-post this here today.
LIGHT AND DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM
By Merrick Hamer, PM
Culver City-Foshay Lodge No. 467
The time of the year has approached when Jews and Christians respectively observe Hanukkah and Christmas with beautiful celebrations. Some indeed celebrate both events. Others celebrate in quiet, contemplative ways, even so, during other seasons of the year. While considering the central candle of the Menorah, the stellar ornament topping the Christmas tree, or the radiance of a mosque lamp, one may recognize in their symbolisms an aspect of Divine Providence.
Indeed, all three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam treat of the concepts of Divine Providence, whether through inference or theological expression. Since the notion includes the effects miraculous events, it can be held that all three embrace views that God intervenes against the very order of nature He has self-ordained, to carry out the intent of His divine will. There is an alternative school of thought held by some Jews and Muslims that miraculous events can be explained within the scope of natural order, yet this does not dismiss the existence of such phenomena, nor their relevance within a created world. Sometimes miracles have occurred unexpectedly, when there was an intense need by an errant or ailing humanity, in consternative melancholy, in retribution for transgression or on behalf of those who suffered, either for their faith or their unfaith.
Some miracles might have demonstrated the omnipotence of God and His power to transcend the limits of human expectation. The parting of the sea by Moses [Exodus 14], the withering of the fig tree by Christ [Matthew 21:19] and the splitting of the moon by Mohammed [Surah 54] are sufficient to demonstrate this power, even if greater and more hidden meanings are contained behind them, all of which are Biblical or Koranic. Biblical accounts also speak of redemption, as in the discovery of holy manna [Exodus 16:1-36], [Numbers 11:1-9], and the restoration of sight to the blind [Matthew 11:5]. Redemption is less direct in the Koran, yet ample examples of supplemental literature speak clearly of redemption in Islam, thus to wit: there appeared a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He said “The slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and that thou shalt see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsman engaged in building lofty buildings.” [Hadith 2].
Celebrations, speaking to the manifestation of light, either serendipitously, prophetically or in revelation, are evidence of God’s providence, His power and mercy, the rain which He maketh to fall upon the faithful and the unfaithful; and his light also, if but their eyes will open.
The Hanukkah celebration bears light, shown upon us by the Menorah, consisting of eight lesser candles, one for day of its celebration, and a ninth candle, called the shamash, giving light and lustre to all beneath it. The beauty in the Hanukkah story is not necessarily the victory of the Jewish Maccabees in the time of revolt, when religious practices in Jerusalem had been suppressed by the Seleucidan dynasty, but indeed the subsequent miracle of sustained light, for the lamp light upon which the rededicating of the Holy Temple depended, required more sacred oil to burn than was available after the turmoil and truculence from the rebellion.
The lights, notwithstanding, endured. Many a religion has celebrated deprivation by fasting, as a means of showing gratitude. In a manner of conveyance, let it be said that we fast from light each night as the sun fades behind the horizon, and we seek gratitude as it reemerges on the next morrow. Let us be truly grateful that, not by miracle alone, but by divine assurance and benevolence, we are comforted by this diurnal recurrence, according to our temporal understanding as “Maur,” and to our spiritual as “Aur.” [Talmud, 1 Maccabees]
The Christmas celebration also bears light, as represented at the treetop, often ornamented in the form of a star, shedding light unto all beneath its effulgence. This, of course, alludes to the Star of Bethlehem. They were no ordinary circumstances under which this star was seen. It was not seen be all, yet it was seen by the mysterious Magi, often called the three kings, who anticipated its appearance, and who when following it, were led to the birthplace of the Christ unto whom they yielded gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
That they have been called kings, must not, however, be understood in the political sense of the expression. A concept known as “Holy Kingdom” or “Sanctum Regnum,” often associated with a Magian tradition, means that theirs was a kingdom not within the physical realm, but rather was a state of mind and soul, for such as they had never lost intimate contact with creation. Let us be truly grateful that, not by prophesy alone, but by inner dwelling, we may truly know the luminaries in our lives and understand the wonderful works of God. [Matthew 2:1-4]
The Parable of God as Light is a personal aid in the understanding of God, Whose omnipotent and omnipresent being cannot be otherwise depicted, yet it is the aspiration of Muslims to achieve Ihsan or to see God, even though not with the eyes. It is not a seasonal observance like unto other celebrations worldwide, and it can be observed personally through supplication, at any time.
One may light a lantern and contemplate this luminous verse from the Holy Koran thus: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is as if there were a niche and within it a lamp: the lamp enclosed in glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His light: Allah doth set forth parables for men: and God doth know all things.” Even as the light from a lantern, however consecrated, is but physical light unto us and reminds us of our duty to hold onto faith, let us, therefore, do so; for in this wise only may we begin to understand God. [Surah 24: 35]
Whatever, wherever and however we celebrate, let us remember the miracle of light that hath shown before us in form not consistent with ordinary light: the providence of God and the light of our faith! Perhaps we have been reminded of it by what we have seen on the branches of a candle stick, or atop a tree; perhaps within a lamp or aloft in the skies. It is the sign of our highest aspirations, our transition to faith from unfaith, the initiation of our hearts, as we begin to love and serve God; our divine progenitor, under whose benevolent mantle all creatures dwell.
May we all embrace in light, and may peace be with us all in celebration!
Merrick R. Hamer
9 December, 2015
Thank you Wor. Bro. Merrick Hamer for allowing me to re-post this wonderful piece full of peace for the Holidays.
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