Almost fifty years ago two human beings, two Americans, changed history by being the first to safely land and walk on the moon. I was just a young man. I remember being riveted in front of my television set, watching, waiting for that unbelievable moment, that first step – it was amazing.
But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong actually took that historical walk is perhaps even more amazing, but so few ever knew it even happened.
You see, in that year, 1969, Buzz Aldrin was an elder in his church, and knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he wanted to properly mark the occasion by honoring God, the moon’s Creator, in some special way. So, with NASA’s permission, he brought with him a communion wafer and a small vial of wine to take Communion right there on the moon.
He and Neil Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin broadcast the following public statement:
“This is the Lunar Module 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, hundreds of thousands of miles from earth, he read a verse from the Bible, the Gospel of John, and he took communion. Here is his first-hand 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 for all to hear, 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.”
Buzz Aldrin finished his story with this thought:
“And of course, it is 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.”
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing; apart from me you can do nothing”.
As we walk each day in our lives, remembering the great sacrifice made by our Savior, let us not forget that He truly is the Vine, we are only small branches of Him; and that without Him we can do nothing.
Let us all pray today to be “somethings” for the Kingdom of God.
About Jerry Stewart
I am a story teller. Since 1998, I have been telling the true stories of our nation and those Americans gone before us. To say the least, these stories have been well received by Americans, both young and old. So, here’s where the stories have taken me. In 1998, I was broadcasting my stories on just one radio station in Washington State. Today, from Texas 15 years later, these programs are now broadcast through a syndicated radio network to over 400 radio stations all across America, with literally millions of listeners.