Many older readers of the Parish Magazine will remember this as only yesterday yet it happened way back in July 1969, the 20th of that month to be exact.

Guessed what the event was yet? Whether you have or not I'll tell you, it was the day that two people from Earth walked on the moon. The very first time that this had happened. We all heard about this exciting news with the very comprehensive coverage on our televisions and radios. But there is one particular aspect of this landing that we never heard about at the time and only came to light many years later for on the surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from the nearest Christian church a communion was held, Buzz Aldrin was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Knowing that he would soon be doing something completely unprecedented, he felt he needed to do something really special to mark the occasion and asked his minister to help him. His minister consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine to be taken into space with him.

A few minutes after landing, Aldrin made the following statement: "This is the LM pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way." Then ending the radio communication he read a passage from St. John's Gospel and took communion.

His actual words were:

"In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our  church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, 'I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.' I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility . It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

With thanks to Eric Metaxas who wrote an original report

Roger Stapenhill

 

Putting God First

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