Communion on the Moon
On the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, Eric Metaxas shares a story I hadn’t heard.
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 pastor to help him. And so the pastor consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine. And 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.
I’m not entirely comfortable with this, given my Catholic perspective on the Eucharist. (Even the vocabulary–”taking” Communion, as opposed to “receiving” it — reflects a different understanding.) But it is a fascinating bit of historical trivia. And I am inspired to know that when Aldrin beheld the expanse of space, he responded with a prayer.
The Scripture passage Aldrin read was John 15:5:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.”
What would you have chosen?