I went to see the New Star Trek movie today and I enjoyed it. The script was engaging and the writer's captured the essence of the characters many of us fell in love with long ago. The actors were also believable.
I remember back to the day when the franchise turned everything over to the Next Generation Crew. I was sad. I had never followed the television series and thought my love for Star Trek would come to an end. It didn't. I actually got to know the new cast members and gained an appreciation for them as different but sort of the same.
I approached this new movie with some of the same fears. It's obvious that the series will never be the same. DeForest Kelly and James Doohan have passed away and the rest of the gang are beyond their swashbuckling days. (I can't imagine William Shatner fighting a Klingon today. He could hardly handle the short young lady he played opposite of in Boston Legal!) So does this mean the Star Trek we know is gone forever?
The answer is no. The transition has begun. This new cast can carry the torch forward. They are good. (It was nice to have the "old Spock" show up though as a bit of nostalgia.)
This whole thing got me thinking about church life and how it is also a franchise that goes generational. I've been in Norwich for twenty four years. I've seen our congregation change a lot in that time. Families have come and gone. Children have grow up and become adults and started their own families. New people have come in and taken over ministries that were once handled by others. So much has changed and yet, so much has remained the same.
I remember having an argument with one of our older members about some new thing we were doing almost fifteen years ago. He suggested that we were going to destroy the church with the changes. I asked him if the church had changed from when he was a young adult. He chuckled. Then he shared his own experience working with a pastor who was making changes in the 1930's. "All of us loved it" he told me. The minister got grief from the older members though and it almost never happened. That's when I told him that change isn't bad if it keeps the spirit alive.
Both in the 1930's and in the 1990's we experienced great changes but we remained faithful to those who came before us. The changes were only in form, not in function. It's funny but my very first sermon in Norwich was titled, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." The truth is that we are all on a journey. Life around us will change but if we stay on course, we are going to be okay. That's good news.
And so is this new chapter in the Star Trek Saga. It will revive and energize the series for a new generation of the faithful. So for now I say, "Live long and prosper."