As the movie “Star Trek: Generations” burst onto the scene in the fall of 1994, I was feeling overwhelmed. I was working full time as pastor of the church. I had a wife and three children at home. My youngest one was still in diapers. I was traveling to Boston once a week working on my doctoral program. I hoped to graduate in May.
I was also weighing two or three offers from different churches. Decisions had to be made. Stay or go? It was truly the best of times and the worst of times for me. I was looking for a place to hide. Have you ever felt that way? Too many things were happening at the same time and I needed a break. So I went alone to the midnight showing of that movie and lost myself for the next two hours or so at the Groton Cinemas.
There were two scenes that really spoke to my heart that night. The first was an exchange between Checkov and Kirk. They had just met Sulu’s daughter. Kirk says aloud to himself, “When did Sulu have time for a family?” Checkov responds, “If something is important, you make time.”
The second scene comes a little later. Kirk is at peace, enjoying life in the Nexus. Picard shows up and tries to talk to Kirk and enlist his help. Kirk says, “No. I’m done saving the universe. This is my time now.” To that Picard responds, “You are a Star Fleet Officer. You have a duty!”
In the days that followed, those two scenes kept coming back to me and they have shaped my life going forward. The first lesson I learned was that life is short and we need to make time for the important things.
Psalm 90:1 says “Teach us to number our days, O Lord, so we may gain a heart of wisdom.” We only have so much time on this earth and we need to be focused in what we do. We need to decide what is most important to us and put our time and energy there. The truth is that I still struggle with this but I’m working on it.
Second, we need to remember who we are. We may not be Starfleet officers but we are ambassadors for Christ. That means we have a job to do. We can’t run away and hide if we are to be true to ourselves. God calls us and sends us into the world to share his love and to offer his grace to the people we meet.
That is our mission. It is who we are. Captain Kirk and his crew have made many on-screen voyages since then. Life has gone forward for many of us too. So wherever you are today, I simply want to urge you to go boldly where no one has gone before. Go and share the good news with a hurting world. Tell them that God loves them.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.