Kaylee, Serenity’s engineer, sits in a lawn chair in front of the Firefly-class spaceship, looking for potential passengers to help fund their next trip. She spots a man wearing a religious collar (a Christian preacher or minister referred to as a “shepherd”) toting his luggage and looking around at the ships.This is our first introduction to Shepherd Derrial Book, one of the main (and one of my favorite) characters of Firefly, a science-fiction television series whose story ran for one season and continued in the film Serenity.
Kaylee: You’re gonna come with us.
The shepherd: ’Scuse me?
Kaylee: You like ships. You don’t seem to be looking at the destinations. What you care about is ships and—
Kaylee: —mine’s the nicest.
Shepherd (looking up at Serenity): She don’t look like much.
Kaylee: Oh, she’ll fool ya.
The shepherd grins at her.
Kaylee: You ever sail in a Firefly?
Shepherd: Long before you were crawling. Not an aught-three though. Didn’t have the extenders. Tended to shake.
Kaylee gets out of her chair and walks over to him.
Kaylee: So, ah, how come you don’t care where you’re goin’?
Shepherd: ’Cause how you get there is the worthier part.
Kaylee: Are you a missionary?
Shepherd: I guess.
He sets down his suitcase and holds out his hand.
Shepherd: I’m a shepherd from the Southdown Abbey. Book. I’m called Book.
Kaylee takes his hand and smiles.
Shepherd Book: Been out of the world for a spell. Like to walk it awhile. Maybe bring the Word to them as need it told.
--from Firefly’s episode one, “Serenity”
I’ve always loved this scene because it gets at some important truths. Like how we walk this life really is more important that whatever destination or goals we make within it. And that makes every encounter and step along the way important. It calls us to pay attention as we go, to really see and be with those with whom we cross paths, to take time to look for and join in what God is doing instead of being so focused on the agendas we come up with, to walk and work with him in his relentless work to swallow death in abundant life. Walking the world like that does indeed bring the Word—and his light, love, grace, right-ness and just-ness—to “them as need it.” And if we pay attention, we just might find the Word being brought to us as well.
(Image: screen capture, 20th Century Fox) fireflyctgy