Interestingly enough, C. S. Lewis described his conversion to Christianity with a book he named, "Surprised by Joy." He admitted his inability to describe or define what he labeled "Joy." It was like an intense desire or longing. By example, he mentioned that this longing was evoked by the "Idea of Autumn"--a kind of intense desire to be inside of beauty. Some poetry and other literature and music also evoked this longing. It was a kind of homesickness.
I think Star Trek and Lewis were talking about the same thing. M. Scott Peck points out that all of us have within us the desire to retreat from reality and return to a simpler happier time (that may never have existed?) We want to return to the womb, to get back into Eden. But we cannot. As Genesis says, the way is barred.
Or at least the way back is. There is still the way forward, through reality. At the end of the Bible, in Revelation, again we find Eden. The biblical witness is that in the end it is a real possibility to find that for which we so deeply long, to be inside Joy. The way there is through the reality of the cross (the cross of Jesus and the crosses we choose to bear). Joy comes not despite the cross, but because of it.
©1996 C. David Hess