Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

Verse 1: “Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem.”

As a young boy who grew up watching TV Westerns, I knew of only one man named Festus: that was the deputy Festus Haggen, played wonderfully by Ken Curtis, on the TV series Gunsmoke. Though illiterate and sometimes ornery, Festus was always a loyal deputy to Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness). Many times, we enjoyed the “friendly arguments” between Festus and Doc Adams; you could consider them the Old West version of Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy of Star Trek. Riding a mule instead of a horse, Festus always was a memorable character on that show. (I actually got to meet Ken Curtis once at a rodeo years ago and had my picture taken with him; he was a friendly Christian man who also sang Gospel and country-western songs very well. He was just as personable in real life as he was on TV).

The Festus we encounter here didn’t ride in on a mule, but rode in as the new governor of the region, replacing Felix. Like any new politician, he attempts to get to know the local authorities, so the Jews take it upon themselves to cajole Festus to send Paul back to Jerusalem for trial. Of course, we know they will try to set up the ambush again to kill Paul. Once again, Paul answers the charges against him with “not guilty”, and the Jews’ complaints, “which they could not prove”, turn this circle of events back on itself.

So what happens next? “Second verse, like the first”? Not in this case…you might say, Paul has had enough!

More to come.

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Verse 11: “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

In the climax of the Star Trek episode “The Omega Glory”, Kirk was battling a starship captain marooned on a planet (he was violating the Prime Directive by interfering in the conflict of two tribes of people populating the planet). With both parties captured by the “Yangs”, the leader of the “Yangs” began reciting a pledge to a torn flag; Kirk (a student of Earth history) completed what he recognized as the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. Cloud William was shocked that a stranger knew the “holy words” (the Yangs were at war with the “Kohms” and Kirk was trying to prove that his party was “the good guys”). Cloud William tested Kirk by reciting the beginning words of their most holy document, and challenging Kirk to complete the words; Kirk couldn’t because he at first had trouble recognizing it. After a fight of “good over evil” over the renegade Captain Tracey, Cloud William (who now thought Kirk was a god until Kirk told him otherwise) confessed that Kirk was good, but doubted because Kirk didn’t recognize the ‘E Plebneesta’; Kirk, now recognizing what it was, stated, “that’s because you pronounced it so badly”. When Kirk surveys the ancient manuscript, he correctly reads the Preamble of the United States Constitution (“we the people”), and instructs the Yangs that those words “must apply to everyone or they mean nothing”. William, still confused, promises to Kirk that the “holy words” would be obeyed. Kirk and company separate from the Yangs, who now stare intently at the document, being educated on its true meaning. (the full episode plot can be read at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Omega_Glory ).

Paul, in his next stop at Berea, found a much more willing-to-learn group. The Scriptures state that not only did they receive the word “with all readiness” but also “searched the Scriptures daily” to explore and to understand what they were taught. I think of the scene from Star Trek, when the Yangs now were educated on what they studied, and now knew its true meaning. Paul did the same thing here; he pointed out the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Berean disciples plunged into the Word, discovering themselves that what Paul had taught them was true…and had been there all along. There is a sense of excitement and wonderment, when you finally understand the true purpose of something that you have studied for so long. Like a Good Book…you just can’t put it down…you’ve got to read more!

Something to think about.

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Ephesians 6:16 “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”

In our daily lives, we use many things for shields. I am referring here to ordinary things, not the things of fictional books and TV; I’m not talking about Captain America’s indestructible shield or the shields that were used to protect the starship Enterprise on Star Trek (never saw those shields but they mostly worked whenever Captain Kirk and crew were under attack!)

In a rainstorm, we use umbrellas to shield us from the rain and wind. We use wide brim hats to shield us from the bright sunlight and its harmful effects. We use emergency funds and savings as shields against sudden job loss or unexpected big bills. Parents often are shields for their children against harmful influences while those kids are still growing up. The offensive line protects the quarterback and running backs in a football play from the opposing team’s defense. A shepherd is “the” shield for his flock of sheep against all kinds of danger.

My oldest son helped me light the fire in the fireplace last night. Once lit, we shut the firescreen; this is a metallic “screen door” designed to let the heat out, but keep sparks from popping out of the fireplace onto the carpet. Though the sparks were hot, they would hit that screen and bounce back…most time the sparks would be extinguished. The shield of faith is our defense “to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one”. The devil is not above both kinds of attack…up close and long-distance. To advance against his attack you must practice your faith in God every day. Remember, a shield is no good to you unless you pick it up and use it!

Have a blessed day!

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