July 5, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

Jesus Christ Honored on the Moon

A little-known incident occurred on the moon right after the Apollo 11 astronauts landed. Illustra Media tells about it.

Seven months after the Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis on Christmas Eve, 1968, as recounted by the short film “Christmas on the Moon” released last December by Illustra Media, another God-honoring event occurred— this time on the most famous Apollo mission of all, the first moon landing by Apollo 11. As Michael Collins flew the Command Module in orbit, just after the successful touchdown on the lunar surface, Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin commenced a short ceremony he had planned. A new short film by Illustra Media shows what happened:

Communion on the Moon from The John 10:10 Project on Vimeo.

NASA may have become sensitive about any religious activity on the mission after a famous atheist got upset at the Apollo 8 reading from the Bible, but Aldrin wanted strongly to express his faith anyway. With his Presbyterian pastor, he sought a special way to commemorate his gratitude for the chance to be part of a historic mission so many had worked to make possible. They agreed he should not talk about it until after the mission.

After the harrowing landing, when Neil Armstrong had taken the controls to fly across a field of boulders and land with seconds to spare, there was a huge sigh of relief all over the world. After hearing Armstrong say, “Houston, Tranquility Base here; the Eagle has landed,” the flight team said, “We’re about to turn blue down here; thanks a lot.” Shortly later, a period of radio silence was planned so that the astronauts could sleep a few hours before leaving the lunar module their first walk on the moon’s surface. But Aldrin was not done yet.

In a non-sectarian way, Aldrin spoke over the intercom,

“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 give thanks in his own individual way.

Taking the elements out of the pouch he had brought, he celebrated communion, as shown in the video clip, and with the intercom turned off, he read from a piece of paper he had brought. It was a passage from the New Testament of Jesus speaking to his disciples:

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.” John 15:5 (TEV)

Nobody knew at the time. Aldrin wrote about what he did in Guideposts Magazine, posted July 10, 2014.

The famous “One giant leap for mankind” followed, the flag planting, the call from the President, and all the other memorable moments followed. Even then, though, there would be more honor to God as part of the mission. On the return journey home, as the astronauts reflected on all that had happened, Aldrin once again quoted Scripture.

A verse from the Psalms comes to mind to me: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained, what is man, that thou art mindful of him?”

A dramatic pause before that last clause “what is man?” really brought home the significance of Psalm 8:3-4, just as the spacecraft brought home three brave astronauts safely to a pale blue dot outside the window of the Command Module. Only years later did some people learn about how the Lord Jesus Christ received worship in a private ceremony on the moon. And on at least two other Apollo missions (a third one being Apollo 15, when Captain James Irwin quoted Psalm 121:1), the Holy Bible was read to earthlings from another world.

Update: An earlier article on Guideposts dated Feb 14, 2011 says that Aldrin’s pastor advised him about making the ceremony public:

Only the pastor at Aldrin’s Houston Presbyterian church—and a few NASA personnel—knew that communion was happening on the moon. Why? Because the famous atheist, Madelyn Murray O’Hare [sic, O’Hair], was involved in a legal fight protesting the reading of Scripture by the Apollo 8 crew. To broadcast a private communion in a very public arena might create even more challenges, and dull the luster of this accomplishment. So Aldrin was asked to “keep it quiet,” which he did.

The article says the ceremony was kept secret for 20 years.

We encourage you to share Illustra’s video! Use the paper-plane icon at the end to link this to social media, embed in websites, and show in your church. Get the word out to the world that the first food eaten on the moon, and the first liquid drank, were the elements of communion that celebrate what Jesus Christ did for sinners, giving His body and blood for our redemption. To see why such a sacrifice was necessary, read our Site Map.

 

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