This week's theme is PEACE.
Peace is a central idea in the film, as the film's villain, Krall, seeks to destroy the "snow globe in space" of the Starbase Yorktown. Yorktown stands as the ultimate symbol of peace in the Federation, a place where peoples from across the Federation dwell together in harmony. It's an incredible visual representation of Star Trek and Roddenberry's dream for the future of humankind.
Of course, in a Christian worldview, such beautiful and complete peace comes only with the ultimate reign of Christ. There is a recognition in the Christian gospel that, much as we work toward and encourage peace in our world today, we as human beings will not achieve its fullness on our own. The film itself, like much of Star Trek, highlights the fragility, even of the Federation's great achievenents, and of humanity itself. It also asks whether working toward an essentially unattainable goal is worthwhile.
In today's world, peace is accutely hard to find. When we can't even conduct civil discourse between friends on social media, when our Christmas and other holiday gatherings can have the potential to break forth into wars of words and injured feelings between family members, when our nation--and indeed, our world--seems so hopelessly divided, peace seems an idea that should be comfortable alongside Santa Claus. It's nice to think about, but it's a myth. "Hear it every Christmastime," the U2 song says, "but hope and history won't rhyme."
But one thing Star Trek and Scripture both highlight is the importance of refusing to succumb to resignation.
In my chapter on Star Trek Beyond in The Gospel According to Star Trek: The Original Crew, I note that the harmony seen on Yorktown "is carefully cultivated and maintained" and that "the paradise we see is the result of years of diplomacy and hard work, not just interstellar warm fuzzies." Peace takes negotiation and maintenence. It takes humility and sacrifice. And peace--whether in international treaties or across family dinnertables--is a thing worth working toward because, even if we never fully achieve it, we will never have it at all if we don't work like it is possible.
Thankfully, we can have Hope because Peace has come, to reside with us, and to be birthed within us. Peace in our own hearts, peace with ourselves, begins with the understanding that we can have peace with God. In Christ, God demonstrates his love--that he loves us as we are, before we change, with all our flaws--and he offers us peace. We need no longer be set at enmity with God. We therefore no longer be set at enmity with ourselves. If God is for us, who--including ourselves--can be against us?
We can't earn this peace with God. He makes it happen, offers it freely, even as we set ourselves against him. If, then, we can be the recipients of such peace, we can also be the instigators of peace, including and especially toward those with whom we most heartily disagree. It's not easy, and it's not complete. But we join together in the hope of peace--that peace has come, is coming, and will come for all, and that we are a part of the advent of peace in the world in which we live.