At the time it was the single most expensive television serial yet produced. I seem to remember Star Trek: The Next Generation costing some 2-million dollars per episode. It was worth it because the visual effects were stunning. Most of the stories were very well written and the technologies represented entirely plausible. After getting past the first episodes with their over designed costumes, and very out of sync performances, the series settled into a long and well received run.
I always liked the single command given by Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Enterprise. When all was ready, a course laid in, and everything stowed for a voyage, he’d utter a single word with a forward pointing gesture, “Engage”.
Much of what I’m doing these days is just such an effort, and for that matter, the effort of the Christian church here in America. Most of us are trying, from the basis of our callings, to engage our society, our culture, our nation, our neighbors, one another. We’re, once again, working to make a difference, in our spheres of influence and from where we stand in life, for the cause of Christ; to glorify God.
Certainly, as in Martin Luther’s time, when monumental change was about to take place, and as that change gained momentum, many things happened as a result. Some good, and some bad. A bit if it was even very bad. Most of what the so-called Reformation has given us has been very good. The Truth itself was set free again, so that in its knowing, we could be set free.
To know the truth and be set free because of it is a claim Christ made for us. (John 8:31-32) He is the Truth. His sacrifice is the power of that Truth which liberates all who believe – not just claim (posses), but believe, as in stake our lives upon it.
To make use of that Truth, to spread and share that Truth, we also must be willing to speak, share, and live that claim – that Christ is our Lord & Savior. It means that, each in his own way, must engage. We must give traction to our God-given gifts and talents and freely share them with all who are receptive, who are ready to hear, who are seeking the Truth and may not even know it. It is our task to translate – with God’s guidance – His gifts to each of us into real life, and as such, Truth which makes a difference.
We’re all called to engage, somewhere, somehow, for some reason which God in His infinite wisdom, has placed upon our individual lives. I am called to art – to the arts – to celebrate cosmos, as L’Engle* put it. I am called to engage our culture from the landscape of the human condition through story, through imagery, through beauty both rough and gentle. I am further called to engage in the lives of my fellow artists to; “Help artists of Faith discover, develop, and use their gifts to God’s glory, whatever that my be.” That is my calling.
I have friends, and yet we don’t know one another, who are doing somewhat the same thing. They’re called to help artists of many media get past their fears, hesitations, life-blocks, excuses, and falterings and to become all that God has called them to be to His glory.
This is why I read. I’m looking for my own sources of encouragement. This is why I am seeking to develop an artist’s group – whatever that will look like. This is why I keep on moving, even if it’s only wiggling my thumb, just so I am engaged in becoming. This is why I write – to share and explore; to pray, meditate, and listen to His Spirit.
Yesterday I didn’t engage very well. Today I will engage more thoroughly. Tomorrow, who knows what it holds. “34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6: 34 & 33) I have deliberately reversed their order for emphasis.
Christ teaches us not to worry – though I do. He teaches us to seek God the Father – though I often neglect this most essential element in my life. He tells us there is a reward for living in faith, and pursuing God.
All we must do each day is Engage!
*Walking On Water: Reflections On Faith and Art / pg 17