As I am emerging from my "COVID-19 cocoon", I stumbled across ST:DS9's seventh season episode "Extreme Measures" in which Dr. Bashir and Chief O'Brien wander through the dying mind of Section 31's Sloan and attempt to find a cure for Odo's changeling virus. It was in this episode (or one near it) that Cassidy Yates Sisko announces her pregnancy and Captain Sisko admits that he forgot his birth control injection. These references gave me pause as we travel through the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic together. Almost 400 years into the future, Star Trek's vision of mankind's future still includes struggles with health, death, man's corruptibility, ethical ambiguities, and mankind's reliance on its ingenuity to prolong our lives. Even so, ST:DS9 evidences the continued influence of Christ in subtle ways, and those references to His presence in the Star Trek universe remind us that mankind's need for salvation is pervasive even in our vision for the future.
Let me step back and share my praise for Christ for where my wife and I are right now health-wise. My wife overcame the virus within roughly a week in September. I am still fighting through the lingering effects of COVID-19 and the related pneumonia - chest/rib pain, occassional lightheadedness, fatigue, and GERD. But I am giving all the glory to Christ for His timing through my ordeal, First, I was diagnosed exactly five years before with sleep apnea, which put a CPAP next to my bed. The constant air pressure into my lungs at night in September likely kept me out of the hospital. Second, merely a week or two before my diagnosis, the MAB (monoclonal antibody) infusion was only available to patients 65 years and older or to those with underlying medical conditions. I would not have qualified if I had been diagnosed a month prior, but because the threshold had been lowered to "high risk" patients, I was fortunate to receive the infusion and bounce back from COVID-19's lowest of lows. All of these things happened in Christ's timing so that He may be glorified in my healing. Praise to the Lord!
I pause to recognize that, while my case was not so great, there are those out there who have experienced or are experiencing this virus in worse ways. While my wife and I were at home fighting this virus, our family lost one friend to COVID-19 complications and our closest friends lost two of their friends to it - all of whom were between 40 and 55 years old. This virus is relentless. But these times should give us pause to recognize the fragility of our mortal lives, God's miraculous healing power and predetermined timing of events, and our need to declare Christ as our Savior and Lord so that we might join Him and other believers in our families in His kingdom.
Back to my original statements regarding Christ's presence in the Star Trek universe. If you have not watched (or re-watched) ST:DS9's sixth and seventh seasons in some time, I encourage you to do so. The focus on Bajoran mysticism is prevalent and embodies the theme of struggles between good (the Prophets and their emissary) and the evil (the Pah Wraiths). During those seasons, Captain Sisko's father quotes 2 Timothy 4:7 in "Far Beyond the Stars":
Joseph Sisko: How're you feeling, son?
Captain Sisko: I'm okay.
Joseph Sisko: I'm done packing. Transport leaves at eight in the morning.
Captain Sisko: I wish you could stay longer.
Joseph Sisko: I've got to get back to the restaurant. My customers have never gone this long without me. The question is, what are you going to do?
Captain Sisko: The only thing I can do. Stay here and finish the job I started. And if I fail...
Joseph Sisko: "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith."
Captain Sisko: I've never known you to quote from the Bible!
Joseph Sisko: I'm full of surprises, aren't I?
Captain Sisko often exhorted throughout the series, "God help us." Non-canonical narratives also imply that Miles O'Brien is Catholic, which explains his several "God help us" statements on-screen as well. I have not re-watched the other series in quite some time, but the prevalence of Christian themes and direct references to Christianity in ST:DS9 are encouraging and a reminder that Ira Steven Behr and his group of writers - regardless of their spiritual beliefs - recognized Christ's influence today and still saw His Lordship as relevant in their vision of the future.
Likewise, our purpose as a fleet in STO to spread the Gospel is more than relevant than ever. Notwithstanding our in-game explorations occurring in the future of the Star Trek universe, we are living in a time when Christ's lordship is so important.