Skip to comments.9 Things You Should Know About the Communion Service on the Moon
Posted on 07/20/2019 3:29:28 PM PDT by ReformationFan
This Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people in history to walk on the Moon. But its also the anniversary of the a lesser known eventthe first celebration of the Lords Supper on the Moon.
Heres are nine things you should know about the first communion service on the Moon.
1. In 1969, Edwin Eugene Buzz Aldrin Jr. was an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church, a congregation just outside of Houston, Texas. He told the lead pastor of his church, Dean Woodruff, that he had been struggling to find the right symbol for the first lunar landing. We wanted to express our feeling that what man was doing in this mission transcended electronics and computers and rockets, Aldrin told Guideposts magazine in 1970. One of the principal symbols, Woodruff said, is that God reveals himself in the common elements of everyday life. Traditionally, these elements are bread and winecommon foods in Bible days and typical products of mans labor.
2. Aldrin got the idea for the communion ceremony while at Cape Kennedy working with the sophisticated tools of the space effort. It occurred to me that these tools were the typical elements of life today, Aldrin said. I wondered if it might be possible to take communion on the moon, symbolizing the thought that God was revealing himself there too, as man reached out into the universe. For there are many of us in the NASA program who do trust that what we are doing is part of Gods eternal plan for man.
3. The communion bread was carried in a plastic packet, the way regular inflight food is wrapped. Because there was just enough gravity on the moon for liquid to pour, Aldrin wanted to pour the wine into a chalice from his church. Woodruff had presented him a silver cup that was small and light enough that it could be carried in the astronauts personal-preference kit.
4. Aldrin had originally planned to share the event with the world over the radio. But the atheist activist Madalyn Murray OHair had recently sued NASA after Apollo 8 astronauts read the Book of Genesis during a broadcast made on Christmas Day 1968, when they became the first humans to orbit the moon. OHairs case claiming that the astronauts had violated the constitutional separation between church and state was dismissed. Yet NASA was still wary of causing more controversy. Aldrin says his fellow astronaut Deke Slayton, who ran the Apollo 11 flight crew operations, told him to tone down his pre-communion message. Go ahead and have communion, but keep your comments more general, Slayton advised.
5. After unpacking the elements from their flight packets and laying them on a small table in front of the abort guidance system computer, Aldrin radioed back to NASA with this message:
Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM Pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to invite each person listening, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way.
6. Before taking communion, Aldrin read from John 15:5, which he had handwritten on a scrap of paperI 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.
7. After radioing in his message and reading the Scripture verse, Aldrin partook of the Supper. Fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong looked on quietly but did not participate. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me, Aldrin says. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements. After taking the elements, Aldrin says he sensed especially strongly my unity with our church back home, and with the church everywhere.
8. Every year, since the moon landing, the Webster Presbyterian Church of Houston, Texas, commemorates Aldrins moon communion service. Its kind of a tradition around here, Gene Fisseler said in 1999. Its still church. Its not about the moon. Its not about the astronauts. Its still about church. But we feel like its an important tradition here in this church.
9. The communion ceremony was dramatized in an episode of From the Earth to the Moon, a 12-part HBO television miniseries from 1998. Buzz Aldrin was played by actor Bryan Cranston.
I learned about this years ago. Most people are unaware of the story. I've even been called a liar by some people when I mention it.
Thanks for posting this - I had never heard of the communion! I just posted the following on another thread about the moon. It probably fits better on this thread:
Not only does the moon need to be EXACTLY the right distance for a total eclipse, in order to get the eclipse like we do, where the moon fits the sun perfectly;
The moon also has to be the right size.
The sun has to be the right size.
And the sun has to be the right distance.
I honestly believe that God set the heavens in motion, and that a solar eclipse is just one of the gifts that He gave us to be in awe of, enjoy, study and learn from.
And seeing as the moon is moving away - Gods timing was also right so that humans are around to see it!
Other things about the moon. It causes tidal action which keeps ocean water moving and not becoming stagnant. Im guessing there would still be life, but not as abundant or diverse. The sun contributes a bit to our tides.
The moon also acts as a stabilizer on our rotation. Without the moon the spinning top known as earth would wobble a lot more, and our seasons (and growing times) would be highly variable. Life without our moon (and at the right size and distance) would be a lot more difficult.
amazing story. I was it aware of this. Bless him for his faith and witness
ping the list if you feel appropriate
Nice thought but not real Communion.
Perhaps not real to you, but it was real to him and perhaps Him as well.
I’ll bite. Why wasn’t it real?
not according to your sect but to the rest of the Christian world it was real and a beautiful way to celebrate.
Thank you for sharing.
Elders in the Presbyterian Church are ordained and serve communion.
I had no idea. it's one of the most awesome stories I've read in a long time.
However, many churches bring communion to shut-ins - but then the person is given the elements by a pastor or elder.
But - in the absence of a pastor or elder (although Aldrin was an elder!) I believe God was honored by the communion (communion between God and Aldrin) as Aldrin followed his heart of “Do this in remembrance of Me.”
Of course this is a rarity. I believe if at all possible communion should be done in community.
Thanks for sharing, and very timely. I’m watching the entire Apollo 11 in real-time and a few minutes after I read your post, Buzz executed this. If I hadn’t read your post, I would not have understand what just happened!
Well done Buzz!
“The moon also acts as a stabilizer on our rotation.”
The moon also has a shiny reflective side, which always faces the earth (the moon does not rotate), and a dark side, which is not made of the same material and is not reflective.
So much for the claim that Catholics never crash non-Catholic threads and pot stir.
God ran out of tinfoil!
But yes - that is another interesting one - how the moon’s rotation is exactly the speed of it’s orbit so we always see the same side of the moon. Although I seem to recall reading the physics behind that.
Of course, if the moon didn’t behave that way, then some scientist may never have wanted to learn and discover that physics principle!?
You are in error. JESUS said, “Where two or more are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them”. They did the remembrance ceremony in His name, in ‘high fashion’, a true communion remembrance celebration of What He did for us.
So which side is made out of green cheese?
Is it made out of blue cheese in the months when there is a blue moon?
Questions a Gary Larsen character would ask...
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