July 20, 1969.
The world held its breath as two astronauts made the perilous journey to the lunar surface. No doubt Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were about to make the history. The question was how. Being the first time that humans had ever stepped on another world, the task of landing on the moon was fraught with unknowns. The lunar module could just as easily crash should the thrusters fail, and the lack of atmospheric friction that could cushion the module’s descent frightened even the most knowledgeable NASA engineers. The uncertainty was so great that President Nixon had even prepared a speech in case of the astronauts’ untimely demise.
Then the message came: “Houston, Tranquility Base, here. The Eagle has landed!”
Mission Control cheered, and earth breathed a sigh of relief. The astronauts had stuck the landing. However, several hours of preparation were still needed for the two to make their historic moonwalk. During this time, Buzz Aldrin radioed back to earth, “I would 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.”
What followed was a moment of radio silence as Aldrin pulled out a “personal preference kit” containing a wafer, a vial of wine, and a silver chalice. With the aid of a 3×5 card, he silently read John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in Him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.” Years later, he reflected on the significance of the event. “It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there,” he would say, “were communion elements.” 
Aldrin, being an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas, was inspired to partake in communion on the moon by his pastor Dean Woodruff’s insistence that God revealed Himself through the natural and the mundane.  Scripture itself speaks to this fact. In the 19th Psalm, David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” (vv. 1-3, NKJV).
However, David goes on to present an even greater form of God’s revelation:
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward (vv. 7-11).
Even though the grandeur and majesty of God is present in creation, it is His Word that transforms lives, conforming them in the image of the Living Word of God: Jesus. As Aldrin alluded to in his Scripture reading, it is Christ who enables men to live in purity and carry out the works of God.
As we celebrate one of the greatest achievements in human history, like Aldrin, let us marvel at the majesty of God present in His creation. More importantly, let us also seek a personal encounter with God through His Word and the person of His Son Jesus. That way, we may not only be transformed, but also fruitful in our obedience to God’s will.
John Thomas Justus is an alum of TMU with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Theology degree.
Caleb Parke. “Moon landing: Buzz Aldrin took Holy Communion, read this Bible verse on lunar surface.” Fox News, July 18, 2019, https://www.foxnews.com/science/moon-landing-bible-apollo-11-buzz-aldrin-communion.
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