Editor: Fifty years ago this month, on July 20, 1969, during the Apollo 11 space mission, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were the first human beings ever to land and walk on the moon. Michael Collins, the third member of the team, was in charge of the command module, which orbited the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin landed.
The two astronauts walked on the moon’s surface and gathered samples of lunar rocks before returning safely to Earth. Armstrong and Aldrin are well known for their famous first giant leap for mankind; however, few people are aware that Aldrin, a Presbyterian, was the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon.
He partook of communion on the moon’s surface shortly after the landing of the Lunar Module “Eagle” in the southern portion of the Sea of Tranquility. Prior to taking their first steps on the lunar surface, Aldrin celebrated communion to honor the God who had made their journey possible. After returning to Earth he noted that the first liquid poured on the moon, and the first food ever eaten there, were the bread and wine of communion.
Many think we are solely in charge of our destiny and accomplishments, but the truth is that nothing as remarkable as landing on the moon is possible without divine intervention, so it is only appropriate that Buzz Aldrin took time to honor God and give thanks.
How wonderful to know one of the great space pioneers of our country gave our Lord praise and adoration by communion with Him. That Aldrin took the time to express his faith during such a landmark moment in history reflects his gratitude to Jesus Christ. It is understood that the God of all creation still stuns us with the awe and scale of space, and light and time.
Mark Gunderman, Stephens City