I looked up at my wall and saw the picture. It made me smile. As a big fan of the Star Trek franchise, I had a photo of Captain Kirk standing with his arm around me. We were both smiling and looking like we were best of friends. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. It was 1995. The photo was taken at a Star Trek convention at the Ramada in Norwich.
George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nicols and James Doohan were the headliners at the event. I got to speak with them all and they autographed my poster. It was then that I ran into Captain Kirk and had my picture taken. No, it wasn't really William Shatner. It was a Kirk look-alike who was there to give us a thrill.
Over the years that photo has impressed a lot of people. It is on my wall of fame. Along with President George Bush, former Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, Kara Walters and Svetlana Abrosimova of the UConn Huskies, Tator the Gator, ABCUSA General Secretary Daniel Weiss and ABCONN Executive Minister Orlando Tibbetts, these photos reflect some of the special moments in my life and ministry.
The Kirk impersonator really does look like William Shatner. Of course when pushed, I tell people that it wasn't really Captain Kirk. Yet amazingly enough, that revelation doesn't diminish people's admiration for the photo. They still think it is pretty cool. Many of us like the idea of being that close to a superstar even if it's a facsimile.
We may not be superstars but God thinks you and I are pretty special. The Bible says that we were created in God's image. That means that we are a "somebody." The problem is that sin often mars our image. It distorts the original beauty that is within all of us. Our pride and selfish natures leave us falling short of God's glory. Whats worse is that it separates us from God.
The good new is that God loves us in spite of our failures. Why? Because he sees us as we were intended to be. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 5 that while we were yet enemies of God, Jesus died for us. This season of lent reminds us that God has not given up on us. That's why Jesus went to the cross. God sees the real man or woman within us.
Maybe that is why he has entrusted us with the Gospel. He knows what we are capable of when we begin to walk with him. He knows that when we have embraced his forgiveness and started living for him, that the world will begin to see him, in and through our actions. Star Trek's Captain Kirk had a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds and to go where no one had gone before.
Likewise, Jesus sends us on a mission to the ends of the earth to baptize, teach and make disciples of all we meet. So go and let your light shine and love people like Jesus loved them. Who knows? Someone just might see you in action and mistake you for Jesus. That's not a bad thing. After all, we are supposed to look like him.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.