COMMUNION ON THE MOON

I presume that most of us were unaware of this story. I didn’t know this,
but it’s a great and true story!

http://www.youtube.com/embed/5zEZvPg1itw?rel=0

In July 1969, two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of
the moon. But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the
Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people
know about it. “I’m talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion
on the surface of the moon. Some months after his return, he wrote about it
in Guideposts magazine and a few years ago I had the privilege of meeting
him myself.

I asked him about it and he confirmed the story to me, and I wrote about in
my book, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to
Ask).”

The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian
Church in Texas during this period in his life, and knowing that he would
soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he felt he should
mark the occasion somehow, and he asked his minister to help him. And so the
minister consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine.
Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth‘s orbit and on to the
surface of the moon.

He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when
Aldrin made the following public 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.” He then ended
radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000
miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took
communion.

Here is his own account of what happened: “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 had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last
minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled
in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of
religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the
moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly.

“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.”

And of course, it’s interesting to think that some of the first words spoken
on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon
– and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the “Love that moves
the Sun and other stars.”

How many of you knew this? Too bad this type news doesn’t travel as fast as
the bad does…share it if you’ve felt God’s Love.

The handwritten verse containing the Bible verse that Aldrin recited during his lunar Communion service was offered at auction in 2007.

Shown is a handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service and is among items offered in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Shown is a handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service and is among items offered in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Verified on Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/glurge/communion.asp

A July 21 2009 article on the CBN news website notes:

Astronaut Aldrin may have gone down in history as the second person to step foot on the moon, but he does hold one unique distinction. He held the first communion service while he and Armstrong were on the moon.

The Washington Post reported that the service was not broadcast, because NASA was concerned about a lawsuit from atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Every year, since the moon landing, the Webster Presbyterian Church of Houston, Texas, commemorates Aldrin’s moon communion service. At that time, Aldrin sat with Armstrong in the Lunar Module, and pulled out his personal preference kit given to him by the Houston church. The kit contained bread, wine and a silver chalice.

“It’s kind of a tradition around here,” said the church’s Gene Fisseler. “It’s still church. It’s not about the moon. It’s not about the astronauts. It’s still about church. But we feel like it’s an important tradition here in this church.”

Cover of October 1970 Guideposts

Another July 2009 article in the Washington Post confirms the information in the message:

Aldrin’s brief and private Christian service never caused a flap, but it could have. Aldrin has said that he planned to broadcast the service, but NASA at the last minute asked him not to because of concerns about a lawsuit filed (later dismissed) by atheist Madelyn Murray O’Hare after Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas.

While the core information in the message is factual, the claim that NASA deliberately kept Aldrin’s communion a secret for two decades appears to be unfounded. Aldrin himself wrote of the communion in a Guideposts Magazine from October 1970, a little over a year after the Moon landing. And as noted in the CBN news quote above, Webster Presbyterian Church of Houston, Texas has openly commemorated Aldrin’s moon communion every year since the landing. While it is well documented that NASA opted not to broadcast Aldrin’s communion message because of possible legal ramifications, there is no evidence to suggest that it subsequently tried to hide the event for over twenty years. At least, if it was NASA’s intention to suppress the information, it was singularly unsuccessful. In fact, Aldrin’s communion is even mentioned in NASA’s own history of the Apollo missions.

The communion was dramatized in an episode of From the Earth to the Moon, a twelve-part HBO television miniseries from 1998.

Have a Blessed Day in the Lord !

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