The 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

(Spoilers ahead) I finally got round to seeing the latest Star Trek movie (Star Trek: Into Dark-ness). Yes, I’d watch it again. It is very good but not, for me, ‘wow’! This ‘parallel universe’ builds on the original 1960s Trek storyline and so you’re expecting the same characters but in somewhat new and different situations – yet all have some sort of reference to the original. That’s the ‘life’ of parallel worlds. And the further from the ‘point of departure’ you go, the more difference is possible. Well that’s the story … and maybe the physics as well.

So when I realised while watching the film that it was picking up the storyline from Star Trek 2 (The Wrath of Khan) I smiled as my mind made the links. Then when I realised that it was also going into Star Trek 3 (The Search for Spock) I grinned and laughed (quietly – thank goodness for the darkened cinema) as I now fast forwarded the film playing before me with the new storyline. Knowing or guessing at what was to come in the film didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the film; it didn’t ‘spoil’ it for me.

Now I’m not one to read the last page of a book. I’m happy to make the journey through the pages and learn the knowledge and information of the world I’m reading in the sequence the author intended. The author establishes a relationship between the reader and his/her creation for the reader to explore. You see it with poetry. You see it with all the book series around. (Is it my imagination or are sci fi and fantasy books more and more in series these days?) The reader wants to explore and wander more and more in the world created on the page and the author (and publisher) are happy to oblige.

There has always been pressure on the Church to ‘update’ the Bible. Once you know it, it al-legedly is boring and needs revamping or have a twist from time to time. The world it presents is too old fashioned and so there are calls for modernisation. Increasingly it seems the Church in the west is talking to a world that has turned its back and simply isn’t interested anymore. The world is engaging in new stories (which are essentially versions of the past). The world – us – will always run after something new it seems to me. We’re always searching.

The Christian story – the world of the Bible, however, is different. The words do not present a landscape we can wander in at our choosing – maintaining control so to speak. The words bring to us The Word made Flesh – the Word of God – Jesus who can be found in the proph-ets, the law, and the psalms (the Old Testament) and in the New Testament and he speaks to us. He confronts us. He gets into our heads. His messages directly speak to us. He doesn’t change but we do – and no matter what we’ve done or how we’ve changed, his words target us personally – speak to us personally – stay in our heads and hearts so to speak. Yes, we might have some control and not listen but his grave is empty – he’s alive – and we can’t shut him up (not really). The Church is called today not to update the message but to speak clearly and directly to each other and to the world a message relevant for our time. What is relevant? That’s a good question! I’m going to stick with sin and grace. The search, in one sense, has ended but the living has only just begun!  — GS