"There, beyond the bounds of your weak imagination,
lie the noble towers of my city, bright and gold".
A Trick of the Tail by Genesis.
The death of Leonard Nimoy this past week amounted to the loss of someone who had become a cultural icon to many of my generation, not only because of his famous depiction of an extremely popular character in the legendary Star Trek, but also for some because of his truly engaging pursuit of the nature of ourselves and reality in various projects he pursued through his work as a photographer.
Being an avid fan of the 60's show and especially the lightning that is encapsulated in the dynamic between the three principal characters, I've often found myself pondering the nature of the more Christ-like aspects of Leonard's most famous on-screen role. Many, of course, make the mistake of seeing Mr Spock in monotone, almost as a machine, but watch an episode like Operation Annihilate, and the relationship between the nature of divinity enfleshed rescuing hopeless humanity becomes starkly apparent. An alien of another realm, coming amongst us as one of us, to guide and counsel and when necessary, lay down his life to save others, is pure gospel.
The story of how Leonard's religious childhood had an immediate impact upon his shaping of aspect's of his screen character are well known, but what is less talked about is how this same source equally impacted upon his art, especially upon his first full-scale work in photography entitled the Shekinah project.
His use here of the feminine form to express something about the divine was always going to controversial, but his understanding that there is, indeed, moments when we encounter this reality in our lives is something that deeply impacted upon his own creativity and life, again tying back to those early experiences of standing before God in his childhood.
In both his acting and his art, then, Leonard Nimoy was someone who was aware that what is truly there - above and beyond us in so many ways - is what truly counts, for it is when such grace settles upon our world in some form, however rare that encounter may be, it transforms the nature of our lives and ourselves, allowing us to catch a glimpse of the true weight and significance of what is happening around us and, on occasion, within us.
Now that all the public tributes have been made and the loss becomes history, I hope that we can reflect on such a pursuit of what counts, and hopefully, come to see that truth fully revealed in the nature and work of Jesus Christ.
As was stated once on the bridge of the Enterprise, "It's not the sun up in the sky - it's the Son of God". That's where the true shekinah is always found.