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