Fifty years ago a TV show started that only lasted 3 seasons, but gave birth to 50 years of enjoyment. See if the opening words of the show sound familiar.
“Captain’s log, Stardate 1513.1 Our position, orbiting planet M-113. On board the Enterprise, Mr. Spock, temporarily in command. On the planet, the ruins of an ancient and long dead civilization.”
Star Trek! On Sept. 8, 1966 the first episode of Star Trek was seen on TV. That was almost 3 years before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. And on July 22 of this year, the latest Star Trek movie hit theaters. The show is 50 years old and shows absolutely no sign of failing to sail into the future. And, in fact, next year there will be a new TV series, Star Trek: Discovery.
Star Trek clearly touched onto something significant. All good stories touch on the one great story: God’s relationship and reconciliation with mankind. So what is the fantasy of Star Trek connecting with that’s part of the real story of life?
The show had and has in its many forms many good facets. It has interesting characters. It deals with social issues. It is exciting and funny.
But two main themes strike home with us all: hope and unity.
Hope is a major foundation of the show. The science of WWII gave us the atomic bomb. Some of today’s labs research horrifying chemical and biological weapons. But Star Trek pictures a future where science has triumphed for the good of mankind. Food and material needs are provided for. Diseases are conquered. Frontiers are explored.
And Star Trek says we can unite. Working together on the first Starship Enterprise as the main characters were a white man, an African-American woman, a Scottish man, a Japanese man, a Russian man and a true alien from another planet.
Surely unity is a theme just as relevant to our culture as ever. We are a nation where far too many have been far too angry against far too many for far too long.
Hope and unity: they are desperate topics for the person on the street. Are they fantasy or real?
They are absolutely real. And there is one place where hope is the driving force. There is one place where all people, regardless of race, sex, or background are all one family. It is Church: the Final Frontier.
Consider this an invitation to boldly go where you may not have gone before. And if you went before and were turned off by its imperfections, consider this an invitation to check out a re-run.
After all, churches aren’t God. They’re not perfect. But their every conversation and step forward are immersed in hope and unity and the exploration of other desperately needed worlds: forgiveness, growth, peace, love.
Do I like Star Trek? Absolutely. I hope it runs another 50 years. But I’m on a trek for a reality filled with hope and unity. Join me in a journey whose mission, like Star Trek’s, will last much longer than 5 years. Let’s boldly go where few people have gone before.
Rick Cupp is minister of the Kenai Fellowship, Mile 8.5 Kenai Spur Highway. Sunday Bible study is at 10 a.m., coffee and fellowship at 10:45 a.m. and worship at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday meal is at 6:15 p.m. (free), Wednesday worship and Bible classes at 7 p.m.