The Word Is Given

Chained explosions rocked the bay as sparks flew and fire erupted all around as if the very flames of Hell were clawing out of instrument panels.  Pressure seals burst with a deadly hiss as caps became deadly missiles and coolant spilled forth like a flood, leaking everyplace as many screamed in stark terror.  Nevertheless, one manned his post.  Like the “Warriors Three”, the mighty men who stood their ground in the lentil field centuries ago, he stood resolute.    This was supposed to be a training mission, wasn’t it?  What is happening out there? It feels like chaos or vengeance struck us, but the Chief gave me a job to do and I’ll do it…no matter what.  Two voices break through the din and static.  The Chief seems to be talking to the Admiral, something about no power…I’ve got to stay…oh no, something is wrong, this seal isn’t going to stay…my face, it burns…

Slowly the world comes into focus, as if waking from a dream.  Three shapes.  People?  I know that Scottish voice.  Something about manning my post while others fled; I think I’m dying.  Is that the doctor?  The dry and pessimistic humor sounds like him.  A third voice; the Admiral.  I don’t have much time left…I have to ask him – everything burns; this is going to hurt:  “Is the word given…Admiral?”  “The word is given…warp-speed” My eyes, they won’t stay open; everything hurts, it is hard to breathe…maybe if I closed them…

This is one of a number of poignant moments in what became one of the blockbuster movies of 1982, and the greatest Star Trek film so far, The Wrath of Khan.  At first glance it might seem out of place to write about such a film during the Christmas season.  Nevertheless, consider the last words the engineering ensign hears from Admiral Kirk before he passes into eternity:  The word is given.  Does that phrase sound familiar; have you heard it before?

The Old Testament book of Isaiah the Prophet, tells of a coming Messiah and of this One to come he says:  “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…“.  In the Gospel of John, John the Apostle describes this same One, who, by then, had come, gone, and promised to return – the whole purpose of reflection during the Advent and Christmas season – as The Word (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…the Word became flesh and made its dwelling among us…).  Therefore it isn’t too far afield to consider what Isaiah says and think “…unto us The Word is given…”

Furthermore, Christmas, properly understood, is also a time to look forward to Easter when the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus is reflected upon and celebrated.  It just so happens that Wrath of Khan is also one of the greatest tales of sacrifice in modern cinema with Spock’s death, funeral scene,  and subsequent resurrection in Search for Spock (due to a the genesis device’s ability to create life on dead worlds) and links to another moving – and recent – cinematic tale of sacrifice from Christopher Nolan via famous words from Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities: “It is a far greater thing than I have ever done before, a far greater place I go to”.

If you find yourself exploring strange new words or seeking out new civilizations this season with the crew of the Enterprise, know that there is always more at play than the screen might have you perceive and that new life isn’t just found out there in space or on other planets.  It can be sought on Earth too, because The Word was given.

Posted on by Aaron in Star Trek

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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