Letter: Mark Gunderman, Stephens City

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


2 thoughts on “Letter: Mark Gunderman, Stephens City

  • 2019-07-15 at 3:15 pm

    God, whichever mythical one you choose to believe in, didn’t make the journey to the moon possible. It was the hard work, imagination and intelligence of the scientists and engineers that made it possible. It is insulting to the efforts of these men and women to give credit for it to some made up man in the sky.

  • 2019-07-15 at 5:22 pm

    Mark, Thank you for sharing your perspective. How many astronauts would not be praying while in the launch phase or re-entry? I think folks who react negatively to faith should consider how much faith had to do with the development of the thirteen colonies as we watch folks today try to downgrade the 13 colony flag especially how Cornwallis was caught off guard by the heroic action of one man. I met John Glenn at Udvar Hazy and will forever honor such men as exceptional Americans. “In God we trust” is still on our currency so it is still what the majority of Americans prefer to honor. Thanks for a great article.

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