Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 19, 2009

Grounded, Waking Up to a Sky Full of Stars

Gonna be a weird stream of consciousness series of quotes today, leading I don’t know where. I’m trying to figure out what it means to stay “grounded” — in God, in the Spirit, in the dharma [?], in Creation, and yet connected to the Mystery of Our Faith, to what is beyond little old me.

My brain’s strangely wired neurons led me from the quote by Kittissaro (a Buddhist teacher), to the Revelation quote,  to Matthew Henry’s bible commentary on the revelation quote, and finally to the novel/movie quote (though Clarke and Kubrick were definitely the atheists of the bunch). Other than the bolded out phrases, I can’t claim to know how they’re all connected. I’m just in active listening mode for the moment. Nevertheless, maybe what connects all these quotes is the concept of surrendering to God in awe, and letting the blessing wash over us:

“I discovered that there is a deep part of ourselves that is never sick, that never dies. That unyielding illness [he’d had typhoid fever] which refused to follow my orders, brought me to a place where I lost everything I’d thought I was. Then I found what remains, which no one can take away.”

– Kittisaro, in a The Sun magazine interview

     “These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b]of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” (Rev 3:1-3)

[The [b] note above says another translation of this is “sevenfold Spirit”. That’s a whole lot of Spirit, but what does it look like, and what’s it mean to hold  it?]

Now here is part of Rev. Matthew Henry’s classic commentary (late 1700s?) on the above Revelation passage:

“Our Lord called upon them to be watchful against their enemies, and to be active and earnest in their duties; and to endeavour, in dependence on the grace of the Holy Spirit, to revive and strengthen the faith and spiritual affections of those yet alive to God, though in a declining state. Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground…, it is needful to compare what we profess with the manner in which we go on, that we may be humbled and quickened to hold fast that which remains.”

And finally:

“My God, … it’s full of stars.”

– austronaut Dave Bowman, upon encountering the space obelisk, in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey



  1. Henry’s commentary made me tired. The rest of it, the idea of listening, intrigues me.

    I’m not really into puritanical effort these days.

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