Vigil Saturday: Or how Enterprise shows us to let go of the known

Posted: March 31, 2018 by Ty in My Neighbour, Spirituality
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Scattered. Unsure. Confused. Scared. Not knowing what comes next. Nothing written in stone as to how to act out in the darkness awaiting.

Vigil Saturday is a hard concept for the modern Christianities.

Why?

We already want to move beyond Good Friday and jump right into Easter Sunday and the resurrection. How can we understand the waiting? We speak of the journey, but we hold in our hearts the outcome so it is a false journey.

It is much like the concept of a prequel. How can the viewer/reader truly enter the story, knowing the next step? Take the Star Trek spin-off Enterprise. This was its living conundrum for the writers. How do you present the early days of the Federation when everyone already knows things as laid out by Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway?

Yet it was also the sequel to Star Trek 8: First Contact. For those who have not seen, this movie was a sequel to the Star Trek: The Next Generation cliff hangar, Best of Both Worlds. Where the Borg are tired of attempting to assimilate earth in the 24th century, they travel back in time to before First Contact. That is before Zephram Cochrane took the first warp flight into space and the Vulcans contacted humanity…which spawned the Star Trek Universe.

Enterprise begins after this. As humanity works with the Vulcans who appear to be holding them back. A Klingon turns up in a farmer’s field and needs to be taken home. Captain Archer (and his beagle), Sub-Commander T’Pal, Trip, Yoshi, Reed to name but a few of the characters take the NX-01 Enterprise (this is even before the Federation) into space on a mission of mercy. Once out there, this short lived 4 season series enters the awe of space exploration.

A series where the writers were in tension of what was known, what could be used, what needed to be held off on, how to use time travel, and how to use the idea of lost logs to cover continuity gaps for they needed the familiar, yet the challenge of it being new and would this survive. How do you get from a ship of humans with two other species (a Vulcan, and a Denobulan Doctor (Chief Medical Officer)—never mind the challenge to the idea of human based binary marriage Dr. Phlox’s people brought). Also, what happens with a crew of experts that begin to let themselves be more than simply individuals? As interdependence grows? As community blossoms? As their sense of belonging breaks beyond their own attested to or implied labels to something beyond themselves.

As Captain Archer in one of the early episodes phrased it, and summed up where the series was at in Trek Lore:

One day there may be a prime directive of some kind to follow, but for now all we have is our own compass on what is right.

For the modern Christianities this is what makes Vigil Saturday so hard, much like the Trekkie’s mind during Enterprise. We want to skip to the end of the story. We want to cling to our institutions, our doctrines our creeds and our completed and shiny Bibles…so we cannot understand the fleeing, the hiding…the venturing forth, the open questioning and challenging.

When in the midst of the chaos…there was no hard and fast what was to happen, there was a question on how to belong, and how to act towards each other: Who is my neighbour? But had it truly sunk in as the darkness descended and the awaiting began.  Was it there, when the women took the first steps out in the darkness bravely towards the rising son.

Or as a ship launched on a mission to return a lost soul not knowing what awaited beyond the sun…

Vigil Saturday is about letting go of what we know, and where we are comfortable.

It is sitting in the dark.

Not knowing what will be there if or when the sun rises.

Or our next First Contact?

Or knowing the form our neighbour will take…

Can you wait… and be present?

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