First Larne Presbyterian Church

First Larne Presbyterian Church

Where are we heading?

I am old enough to remember "Star Trek" in its original TV series format (hence the picture). Since then I have read and heard about the truly momentous sociological barriers it shattered (unbeknowns to me in my childhood innocence), such as the alleged first inter-racial kiss on British TV in 1968 when Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura touched lips. In fact, a similar incident had been screened in 1964 in an episode of Emergency Ward 10 (which I do not remember!) It has recently come to light that an ITV production, "You in Your Small Corner", beat both American dramas in June 1962.

Whilst such trivia of bygone years may be of interest to some, in this blog I offer you the thoughts of Paul Valler, writing for the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity just after the release of the latest in the Star Trek movie series. What he writes is particularly relevant for our present reality when the horrors, the implications and the uncertainties engendered by recent events must surely cause us to wonder where our world is heading. I hope this helps restore a proper perspective as we continue to work out our calling as followers of Jesus Christ.



Star Trek Beyond, the third film in the science-fiction prequel, burst onto UK cinema screens last Friday. Special effects in the protracted final battle were so spectacular that watching them in 3D was quite disorientating.

 What is the appeal of this now famous 50-year-old brand? Is it the futuristic technology of the Starship Enterprise? I don’t think so. Is it the iconic characters – courageous Captain Kirk and his emotionally controlled, logical first officer, Spock? Their dialogue and their interplay with the cynical, yet compassionate, Doctor ‘Bones’ McCoy is amusing, but I don’t think the characters are the key either. The gravity that holds the fans in orbit around the Star Trek franchise is something deeper. It is voiced by Spock in a desperate moment as he lies injured. In response to Kirk’s question ‘What shall we do now?’, Spock says, ‘We will do what we have always done, Jim; we will find hope in an impossible situation.’

 Hope is the key and core value of Star Trek. Hope that we can and will better ourselves and rise above our limitations and moral failings. Hope that working together we can and will achieve far greater things than we have ever done – ‘boldly going where no one has gone before’. Played out in this fantasy genre is a deep longing for a better world, a better humanity and a belief that it can be. That hope and unquenchable optimism in the face of overwhelming odds is what inspires and attracts us.

 Most of us at some time face difficult if not impossible situations, and we need that kind of inspiration and hope. And the good news is that there is a better hope than Hollywood can offer. There is someone who has already gone ‘where no one has gone before’. He faced overwhelming odds and went through death into resurrection and on into heaven. Hope and faith in Jesus are not part of a fantasy; they are based on a unique life in history – so special that the world reset the year count. In an uncertain and scared universe, whatever situation we are in, we can turn our eyes to Jesus and have hope, both that God is with us in our life today and that there is an even better life to come.

 Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

Paul Valler