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Sunday Sharing

Easter On Board the Starship Enterprise

Yes, I am a Trekkie – a fan of Star Trek. I think one of the most interesting persons of the series was a character named “Q”.  He appeared in three Star Trek series - The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine. “Q” was a being outside of our ordinary human dimensions and of unknown origin. He also possesses immeasurable power over normal human notions of time, space, the laws of physics, and reality itself. Further, he could violate or alter them in unpredictable ways with a casual thought or hand gesture. He is presumed to be almost omnipotent, and he is continually evasive regarding his true motivations.

In one episode, “Q” forces Star Trek’s Captain, Jean-Luc Picard, into a formal trial before the “Q” Continuum. Captain Picard is chosen to be the representative of the Human Race, which is being judged as a threat to all life in the universe because of the evils and atrocities human beings have committed throughout our history.

Many might presume that the “Q” character is a crude interpretation of divinity: omnipotent, capricious, and unpredictable and vengeful against human nature. But, if that is so, this characterization is too simplistic. Our God (the God of the Book, the God of Moses and Jesus) is completely opposite from “Q”. Our God is kind and forgiving and loves us.

How can we know this?

We Christians know this because of God’s communication to our world. We know this through Jesus who is the Word that God speaks to us! We believe Jesus is God present among us. And unlike Star Trek’s “Q”, Jesus used his omnipotent powers in quiet but helpful ways. Jesus healed lepers and crippled people, opened the eyes of blind men, and brought the dead back to life.

Jesus, the Word of God, was also a teacher. He taught his disciples a style of living that focused on loving God and others. In fact, Jesus taught that one cannot be a lover of God if one does not love his or her neighbors. The teachings of Jesus, the Word, have been communicated to us through the Gospels.

“Q’s” mission and motivations were never very clear. But the mission of Jesus, the Word, was very clear and direct. He came among us to communicate God’s, his Father’s, overwhelming love for us. Love is not only his mission, it’s also his motivation. Christians see this particularly powerfully in the celebration of Holy Week and Easter.

There is a part of human life that focuses only on one’s self. It’s almost instinctual, and at times, no matter the needs of others, we are drawn to act in our own self-interest.  Some have called this our “proneness to evil”, others call it Original Sin. But whatever it is called, it divides us from each other and separates us from God’s love. Jesus, the Word, taught us how to live with a different life vision and orientation.

From our human point of view, the biggest threat to human life is death. Every human who has ever lived or will live has died or will die. We all tend to look at death as the end of life. But Jesus, the Word of God, has a very different vision. In God’s loving vision, death is the transition to a deeper and richer life for those who live lovingly, following Jesus’ teachings. Jesus brought this to us by his resurrection from the dead.

Or, we can say this in a more traditional way: Jesus, the Son of God, brought us God’s love in Redemption from sin and in Salvation from death. That’s the BIG DEAL of what Easter is all about.

Sometimes I wonder how Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the other crew members of Star Trek would react if they suddenly encountered Jesus, the Word of God, on their bridge instead of “Q”. Would they take him as seriously as they seem to take “Q”? Would they be impressed by what he tells them, or be startled by the way he helps and heals some of the members of the crew?

Although the years and the settings may change, the essence of human beings remains the same. The communication of God’s Word yesterday, today, and tomorrow would probably have the same effect on people. And as it has been, so it will be - those who are spiritually aware will be able to hear the Word and see the Light! Can you hear the Word and see the Light of Christ in our Easter celebrations?

Fr. Bob

Rev. Robert Heidenreich